In June 2018, Dallas City Council approved an ordinance allowing electric scooters to be operated on city-owned property. Two electric scooter companies, Bird and Lime, allow for “dockless” scooter rental. Each offers 500 scooters apiece for rent. Lime and Bird may be the first two companies to enter the scooter market in the Dallas area, but they almost certainly will not be the last. As the number of available scooters increases, accidents and injuries will be sure to follow. If you suffered serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a scooter accident in Dallas, immediately retaining a scooter injury Lawyer in Dallas is in your best interest. When a scooter accident victim’s injuries result from another party’s negligence, they could be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, lost income, and other damages.
The Benton Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for our clients. Call (214) 777-7777 or fill out an online contact form to have our Dallas scooter accident attorneys review your case and help you understand your legal options during a free consultation.
Dallas Scooter Laws
According to the Dallas Business Journal, Lime and Bird require scooter riders to be at least 18. They must have a valid driver’s license and consent to their safety agreements to register through their smartphone apps. Lime and Bird scooters cost $1 to start and 15 cents per minute to rent. The scooters are picked up at various locations throughout the city and left in a “safe” location when done.
Bird and Lime scooters can go as fast as 15 miles per hour. City Code establishes that motor-assisted scooters are only allowed on public paths or trails set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Therefore, it is prohibited for scooters to be ridden on sidewalks. Scooters are only allowed in designated bike lanes and on most streets where the speed limit is less than 35 mph. Helmets are encouraged to be worn, but they are not required. Both rental companies will provide helmets to users who request them. However, helmets are not mandatory under Texas law.
Scooter companies may try to blame you for the accident
All of these safety measures may give riders a false sense of security that riding a scooter is a relatively harmless mode of travel. However, the user agreement that all renters agree to as a precondition for rental contains many provisions that attempt to relieve these companies of liability in the event of an accident. Words such as “releases,” “disclaims,” and “assumption-of-risk” state that renters agree to assume responsibility for any damage or injuries they cause. Additionally, both companies require that renters report any crash that causes property damage or injury to the police and file a report within 24 hours.
With few regulations governing these scooters’ operations, accidents are bound to happen. Ultimately, these companies could attempt to place all the blame on you for any accident you were involved in while on one of their scooters. Remember that scooters and electric-assisted bicycles are not subject to vehicle liability insurance requirements. Therefore, there are no assurances for their proper and safe operation.
Scooter Accident Claims Our Scooter Injury Lawyers in Dallas Handle
Like other motorized vehicles on the road, scooters are not without problems. First-time riders may be surprised by their speed. This unfamiliarity can make controlling the devices somewhat more challenging than initially expected. Also, if in an area not equipped with a bicycle lane, a rider may violate traffic rules by riding on the sidewalk or in the street with vehicles. No matter the cause, accidents involving scooters can and will happen. Scooter accidents may be caused by those operating the scooters or other negligent parties.
Some of the most common kinds of scooter accidents include:
- Motor Vehicle Collisions — Scooters may be struck by negligent drivers at intersections or other areas of roads. Scooters are far smaller than most automobiles, so scooter riders often suffer catastrophic injuries in these cases.
- Collisions with Pedestrians — Scooter riders may strike pedestrians on sidewalks or at intersections. The fault for these collisions can vary depending on the situation.
- Defective Scooters — Scooters are complex machines that involve multiple parts. A scooter made with a defective part may malfunction and cause a possible accident. In some cases, a rental company may fail to replace parts that have worn out. A scooter manufacturer could be liable for a defectively designed or manufactured part. At the same time, the rental company could be liable for failure to maintain the scooter.
- Dangerous Road Conditions — Scooter accidents may sometimes result from dangerous roadways. The governmental or business entity responsible for maintaining that section of the road where the accident occurred could be liable for not correcting the dangerous condition.
The people who are riding scooters are not always the ones who are hurt in scooter accidents. When a reckless or dangerous scooter rider strikes a pedestrian, it can result in the pedestrian suffering severe injuries. When this happens, the victim should try to get the operator’s name and driver’s license information before contacting the police.
If you or a loved one were injured in a scooter accident, seek medical attention immediately. Ensure that a police report has been filed within 24 hours. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene. When you are capable of doing so, contact an attorney. Do not speak to anyone until you have legal representation.
Filing a Claim for Scooter Injuries
The Washington Post reported in September 2018 that emergency-room physicians in seven major cities saw increased severe accidents after scooters became available in their areas. According to the Post, there is currently no national data for scooter injuries.
It should go without saying that scooter riders do not have much protection while they are riding. While helmets can undoubtedly help reduce serious injuries, they cannot prevent all kinds of injuries.
Scooter accidents can result in such injuries as:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Nerve damage
- Muscle strains
- Facial Injuries including broken teeth
- Road rash
Scooter injuries can range in severity depending on multiple factors relating to the underlying crash, such as the speed the scooter was traveling and the type of accident the victim is involved in. While minor injuries can be treated and will heal relatively quickly with only minor interruptions to a person’s life, some scooter crashes can result in much more serious injuries that involve several weeks, months, or even years of hospitalization and rehabilitation as well as a possible inability to return to work or maintain any employment.
While scooter-related injuries are slowly reported, Dallas News cited the city’s first death. The medical examiner stated that the Lime scooter renter suffered blunt force injuries to his head when he fell off his scooter.
When a scooter accident results in a fatality, a victim’s entire family often feels the impact. Individual family members may be able to file wrongful death actions against negligent parties for fatal scooter crashes.
Contact a Dallas Scooter Injury Attorney Today
It is not always obvious who is at fault in a scooter accident. Many factors may be involved, including if the crash was caused by rider error, another’s negligence, or if the scooter was functioning correctly. The unfortunate truth is that many liable parties will automatically respond by claiming a victim was the person at fault for their injuries and that their accident resulted from their negligence.
They can immediately commence an independent investigation into your crash by contacting a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a scooter accident. The attorney can have experts figure out the cause of your accident while collecting key evidence and identifying all of the parties who could be liable for your injuries.
Seek medical care first
The first thing you should do after a scooter accident is to seek medical care. Whether you think you were hurt or not, you should always have a medical professional perform a complete evaluation of your condition, so you can be sure that you did not suffer an injury that might involve delayed symptoms. A delay in medical care can affect your claim.
Another valuable step is to take multiple photographs of your accident from various angles and distances. If anybody saw your accident, get their names and phone numbers as such people could prove valuable witnesses later on.
In some cases, insurance companies may contact victims for the negligent parties. Avoid talking to anyone about your accident until you have hired an attorney. Many insurers aim to get victims to make statements that unknowingly damage their injury claims, and others may offer settlements to resolve these cases. However, the settlement offers are typically nowhere near what victims are entitled to. Similarly, scooter renters who have been injured should not speak with the rental company or anyone contacting you on their behalf. They aim to release themselves from liability by putting all the blame on you.
Contact a Dallas Scooter Injury Lawyer
Did you sustain severe injuries, or was your loved one killed in a scooter accident in Texas? Do not delay retaining legal counsel; you will want to ensure you have an attorney to recover as quickly as possible.
The Benton Law Firm represents people hurt in Bird, Lime, or other scooter accidents in Dallas and surrounding communities in North Texas. You can have our personal injury lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (214) 777-7777 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.