December 18, 2023
personal injury

In recent years, the streets of Alabama cities have seen a new addition to their urban landscape – electric scooters, also known as e-scooters. These compact and convenient vehicles have surged in popularity, offering an eco-friendly and efficient mode of transportation for residents and tourists.

However, as their numbers on the streets increase, so does the potential for accidents and injuries. If you are hurt in an e-scooter crash, an Alabama personal injury lawyer from The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can help you with your case.

Are E-Scooters Safe?

The rising popularity of e-scooters in Alabama cities has raised questions about their safety. While e-scooters offer a convenient way to travel short distances, they also have risks for riders and bystanders.

  • Falls due to inexperience or road conditions. Riders often experience falls when they are new to using e-scooters or encounter potholes, uneven surfaces, or slippery conditions.
  • Collisions with vehicles. E-scooters are small and may not be easily visible to drivers, increasing the likelihood of accidents, especially when riders do not follow traffic laws.
  • Pedestrian incidents. Sidewalk riding can lead to accidents involving pedestrians, which may result in injuries to both parties.
  • Equipment failure. E-scooters can malfunction, with issues like brake failure or battery problems leading to potential accidents.
  • Obstruction hazards. Improperly parked e-scooters can block sidewalks, ramps, and doorways, posing trip hazards for pedestrians and people with disabilities.

E-Scooters and Liability

Responsibility for an e-scooter accident typically falls on one or more of the following parties:

  • E-scooter rider. E-scooter riders must adhere to traffic regulations, practice vigilance, and stay alert to their environment. Neglecting these responsibilities can lead to accidents, potentially making them liable for an accident.
  • Manufacturer liability. In cases where an e-scooter accident is caused by a defect or maintenance problem, liability may fall on the manufacturer of the scooter or the entity responsible for its upkeep.
  • Municipal negligence. Cities and municipalities that allow e-scooter rentals may also face liability if accidents are linked to poorly maintained infrastructure or inadequate regulation.
  • Third-party fault. Third parties, such as negligent motorists or pedestrians, may be responsible for e-scooter accidents if their actions played a part in the crash.

Insurance Considerations

Under Alabama law, while operators of motor vehicles must have liability insurance, e-scooters are not classified as traditional motor vehicles. Therefore, while insurance policies for e-scooters exist, it’s not mandatory to have insurance to operate an e-scooter.

If you’re injured by an e-scooter rider, you might need to pursue legal action against the individual directly, rather than an insurance company, to seek compensation. However, if your injury involves a vehicle or is related to product liability in an e-scooter accident, you can seek compensation through the insurance of the party at fault.

Relevant Statutes and Regulations

Alabama law defines e-scooters, or motorized scooters, as devices with handlebars and an electric motor weighing under 100 pounds with a maximum speed of 20 mph. E-scooters are regulated similarly to bicycles, with specific safety rules.

E-scooters are required to have brakes and lights at both the front and rear. Across the state, individuals as young as 14 can ride e-scooters, provided they possess a valid Class M license. Additionally, e-scooter riders under 16 are mandated to wear helmets.

What to Do if You’re Involved in an E-Scooter Accident

Unfortunately, e-scooter accidents have serious consequences for victims. In 2022, a Calera, Alabama, high school student was killed in an e-scooter crash. In Mobile, e-scooters have resulted in several accidents, including a collision between an e-scooter and a truck and facial injuries after a fall from a scooter.

If you’re involved in an e-scooter accident in Alabama, take the following steps to protect your well-being and your rights:

  • Seek medical attention. Your health and safety should be your top priority. If you or anyone else is injured, seek medical assistance immediately.
  • Document the scene. Take pictures of the accident scene, including any damage to the e-scooter, vehicles, or property and your injuries.
  • Gather information. Get the contact information of any witnesses, the e-scooter rental company, and the scooter’s manufacturer (if relevant).
  • Report the accident. If applicable, report the accident to local law enforcement and the e-scooter rental company.
  • Consult an attorney. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and pursue compensation for your injuries.

Know Your Legal Options After an E-Scooter Crash

E-scooter accidents can result in serious injuries and disputes over liability, making it crucial for riders and pedestrians to understand their rights and options. If you or a loved one has been involved in an e-scooter accident, speak with one of our personal injury attorneys at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers about your case.

We can help you determine who may be responsible for your injuries and file a claim with the responsible party to compensate you for damages. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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