Georgia Electric Scooter Accident Attorneys
Atlanta has seen a recent surge in scooter activity. WXIA-TV reported that it was the first southeastern city that Bird introduced its dockless scooters to on May 3, 2018. A month later, Lime—which was already bringing dockless bikes to the city—announced plans to rent scooters as well. These companies both provide scooters that users can locate and rent with a mobile app. Part of their popularity comes from the fact that users are not responsible for charging, picking up, or dropping off the vehicles. A rider can find and leave them throughout the city.
WXIA reported on July 13, 2018, that a Bird representative told an Atlanta City Council member that the company had recorded 39,000 riders after two months in the city. Atlanta Magazine reported in August 2018 that Bird added 400 scooters to their initial 200, and more than 43,000 users took more than 110,000 trips combined.
On September 25, 2018, WAGA-TV reported that the Atlanta City Council was considering new rules for operating scooters. The Department of City Planning outlined regulations covering both the riders and the companies that operate scooters. According to WAGA, the proposal sought to cap scooter speeds at 15 miles per hour, prohibit riding scooters on sidewalks, and ensure that scooters were not parked in the middle of sidewalks or left lying on the ground.
The increased traffic raised many concerns about road safety, and early accident reports fueled those fears. On August 9, 2018, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that an Atlanta police officer ran a stop sign, striking and killing a man operating an electric scooter.
Did you sustain serious injuries or was your loved one killed in a scooter accident in Atlanta? You may have a difficult road to recovery, but you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Gumprecht Law Firm handles scooter accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay us anything until you receive a monetary award. Call (678) 800-1050 or complete an online contact form to have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free consultation.
Atlanta Electric Scooter Rules
Bird and Lime scooters are located and unlocked through the company’s apps. They cost $1 to unlock and then $0.15 per minute of use. The scooters do not need to be returned to docking stations, as the companies collect all the scooters at night to recharge them and inspect them. Bird begins collecting its scooters at 8 p.m., and they are not returned to “nests” until 7 a.m.
Under Bird’s user agreement, a scooter must be locked at the end of a trip or the rider continues to be charged, up to a maximum of $100. Bird’s user agreement also states that a user is required to promptly report any damaged or malfunctioning scooter to them via the mobile app or email.
Lime requires its users to be at least 18 years of age, but a minor at least 16 years of age can use a scooter as long as their parent or legal guardian rents it out. According to Lime’s user agreement, a user must report any accident or a stolen or lost product to Lime as soon as possible. It also requires that a user report crimes, injuries, or fatalities to the police.
Types of Electric Scooter Accidents
Though scooters can provide an environmentally friendly and convenient transportation option, riding them does involve potential danger. Scooter riders are most likely to encounter problems when dealing with one of two common types of traffic: pedestrians and motor vehicles.
Scooter accidents typically fall under one of four categories:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents — Many drivers are not expecting scooters to be out on the roads and accidents commonly involve motor vehicles moving too close to scooters. Other accidents involving negligent drivers include the aforementioned failure to stop, distracted driving, or speeding. When a negligent driver is at fault for an accident, their insurance company is responsible for the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Insurers for negligent drivers will often argue that a scooter user was to blame for an accident, and they will engage in deceptive tactics to try and get victims to unknowingly admit fault. You should not speak to any insurance company until you have legal representation.
- Collisions with Pedestrians — When an accident involves pedestrians, both parties may blame the other for causing it. Depending on the circumstances, either or both could be injured in a collision. Georgia uses a modified comparative fault system for negligence claims, which means total liability in an accident will be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. A plaintiff can only recover damages when they are less than 50 percent at fault. In other words, a person who is awarded $100,000 in a scooter accident and found to be 15 percent at fault would have their award reduced by $15,000 and ultimately receive $85,000.
- Dangerous Road Conditions — Certain types of hazards in the roadways used by scooter users are supposed to be corrected by the state or another governmental entity responsible for the road. Examples of such dangers or circumstances include depressions in the road, potholes, malfunctioning traffic signals, poor roadway designs, or inadequate guardrails.
- Defective Scooters — Most people do not know much about a scooter’s parts and inner workings. If a scooter acts in an unnatural way, the user may not immediately realize that something is wrong. Certain problems can be indicative of major malfunctions that ultimately cause accidents. If a scooter malfunctioned because the rental company failed to maintain it, the company will be liable. The scooter or part manufacturer is liable when a scooter malfunctions because of a defective part.
It cannot be stressed enough that victims should avoid speaking to insurance companies after scooter accidents. Some insurers will offer lump sum settlements and tell victims that they will be able to keep more money for themselves by not hiring an attorney, but the truth is that the settlement offers are often far less than what victims are actually entitled to.
An experienced lawyer will know what your case is really worth and fight to make sure that an insurance company pays you what you need and deserve.
Types of Electric Scooter Injuries
Numerous factors impact the kind of harm a scooter accident may cause. Some severe injuries do not cause much immediate pain, making them more difficult to detect right away. However, you should still seek immediate medical attention, as some injuries have delayed symptoms.
Examples of injuries people have suffered in scooter accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Nerve damage
- Muscle strains
- Road rash
The initial treatment for these injuries often involves a lengthy hospital stay that usually requires several rounds of rehabilitation and a number of very large medical bills. Making matters worse, many of these injuries or their recovery processes prevent the victim from returning to work.
If a scooter accident leads to fatal injuries, the consequences become much farther-reaching. Suddenly, families have lost a provider and they can be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim against a negligent party.
Contact an Atlanta Electric Scooter Accident Attorney Today
The last thing any person thinks about happening when they step onto a scooter is being involved in a serious accident. The immediate aftermath of such an accident can be very confusing and stressful, but this can also be an important time for a victim to do their own part to take important steps and collect evidence.
Your first step should always be to seek medical care. This is true even if you do not think you were hurt. Some injuries may involve delayed symptoms, and a delay in treatment can suggest to insurance that your injuries were not serious or not caused by the accident.
Your next step should be to call 911 to report your accident. Wait for a local law enforcement agency to respond, even if it takes a while. Police reports can be an invaluable record of your incident. It’s also helpful to take multiple pictures of the scene of your crash. Get photographs of the scooter, any motor vehicle involved, and all other possible contributing factors. The last step is to contact an attorney who can conduct an independent investigation of your accident. The lawyer can determine the cause, collect evidence, and identify liable parties.
If you suffered catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a scooter accident in Atlanta, you cannot afford to wait to take legal action. You may have a very limited time to hold a negligent party accountable.
Michael Gumprecht of the Gumprecht Law Firm has been named one of the Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers and one of the Top 10 Under 40 by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. You can have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (678) 800-1050 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.