- The Different Laws Relevant to Electric Scooters
- How Does Lime Encourage Safety?
- Understanding the Most Common Causes of Lime Scooter Accidents
- Scooter Accidents Could Lead to Dangerous Injuries
- Who is Liable for Lime Scooter Accidents and Injuries Suffered?
- Does Lime have Insurance Coverage?
- Past Incidents with Electric Scooters
- Relevant Lawsuits Surrounding Scooter Accidents
- How much is Your Lime Accident Injury Case Worth?
- What Should You Do after a Lime Accident?
- The Statute of Limitations for Your Lime Accident Claim
- You Need Legal Representation
Lime (formerly known as LimeBike) is a transportation-rental company that is based in San Francisco, California. Lime was founded by Toby Sun and Brad Bao in January 2017. Lime offers bicycle-sharing, car-sharing, and scooter-sharing services. The company was founded on the idea that communities should have access to both smart and affordable mobility, with the goal to reduce society’s dependence on personal vehicles. The company’s focus on short-distance or last-mile transportation has contributed to its overwhelming success all over the world. Lime’s electric scooters quickly became popular after being introduced to the services provided by the company. Although the scooters have contributed to the company’s success, they have also contributed to the increase in scooter accidents in the scooter-share industry. Because these services and products continue to be relatively new, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding scooter accidents and injuries – especially in terms of taking .action against liable parties after scooter accidents. Although Lime scooter injuries are fairly recent, victims and their families already have the right to pursue legal action after suffering any type of harm as a result of a scooter accident. There is not enough information available for the victims of Lime scooter accidents. This results in victims and their families failing to take action against the parties liable for their harm – being left to deal with the aftermath of their accidents on their own.
The Different Laws Relevant to Electric ScootersThere are a number of laws that apply to electric scooters, including Lime’s rental scooters. In general, these laws are designed to keep everyone safe – including scooter riders and pedestrians, for example. In the state of California, there are a number of laws that apply to Lime scooter riders. Consider the following laws:
- All riders of stand-up scooters (such as Lime electric scooters) must wear helmets while riding on the road.
- Electric scooters are not to be ridden on sidewalks.
- Electric scooters are not to travel any faster than 15 miles per hour.
- Electric scooters are to be ridden in bike lanes (when speed limits exceed 25 miles per hour).
- Electric scooters are to be ridden on streets (when the speed limit is less than 25 miles per hour).
- Riders must always keep close to the right curb (when riding on the street; exceptions apply).
- Riders must have a valid license to legally ride electric scooters.
How Does Lime Encourage Safety?Lime has a few safety tips available on their website (and their mobile app). There are also a few short videos designed to provide their users with the basic information that they need to safely use their service. In general, Lime’s safety recommendations include the following:
- Always follow helmet laws.
- Always park scooters properly curbside.
- Always conduct a safety check before starting your scooter ride (check steering, brakes, and tires).
- Always apply brakes to slow down or stop scooter.
- Always be mindful and cautious of any obstructions on roads.
- Always follow traffic laws and signals.
- Always use hand signals to avoid unpredictability for vehicles behind you.
Understanding the Most Common Causes of Lime Scooter AccidentsAlthough Lime scooters are undeniably a useful method of short-distance transportation, they can be dangerous. Both riders and non-riders (including auto drivers and pedestrians) could suffer accidents involving Lime scooters. Some of the most common causes of Lime scooter accidents include reckless drivers, reckless riders, unqualified/inexperienced riders, defective scooters, poor road conditions, and poor parking on sidewalks, for example. Consider the following common causes of electric scooter accidents (in no specific order):
- Dangerous road conditions – in general, road conditions do not really affect vehicles. A pothole might startle a driver, but it will likely not result in an accident. Because electric scooters only have two wheels, they are less stable; therefore, they are more likely to be severely affected by poor road conditions, such as potholes, cracks, and poor lighting, for example. Obstacles on roads could also make drivers swerve and hit scooter riders. Usually, city agencies are required to ensure that road conditions are acceptable for all parties who share the road to avoid accidents.
- Defective electric scooters – defective scooters can suddenly stop working or malfunction, resulting in dangerous accidents. Companies are supposed to ensure that their products are safe for use prior to making them available for the public. For products like scooters, which could deteriorate with normal use, it is essential for companies to keep up with required maintenance to ensure that these products remain safe to continue using. As soon as companies become aware of issues with their scooters (through rider reports, for example), they must act with urgency to address the issue. When responsible parties fail to address safety concerns, innocent parties suffer accidents.
- Poor parking on sidewalks – riders (as well as “juicers”) are supposed to park Lime scooters on sidewalks. Parking requirements are very specific in order to ensure that pedestrians continue having a clear path free of hazards. Poor parking on sidewalks primarily poses a threat for pedestrians. Whether scooters topple over unexpectedly or are purposefully parked recklessly, pedestrians can suffer accidents and injuries. Juicers, the parties who pick up scooters and drop off scooters after charging them, have to ensure that they park scooters correctly at all times. If juicers fail to collect Lime scooters overnight, scooters could pose a threat to pedestrians – especially if they are hard to see.
- Reckless drivers – reckless driving habits are some of the most common causes of scooter accidents. Even though all drivers have a duty of care to drive safely and cautiously to avoid harming others, many drivers exercise recklessness, putting themselves and others in serious danger. Failing to provide scooter riders with enough space, speeding, and ignoring traffic rules, in general could result in scooter accidents.
- Reckless riders – some scooter riders put themselves in danger through their actions. Although scooter riders are supposed to adhere to traffic rules and watch out for pedestrians, many of them are reckless and have no regard for their safety or the safety of others. Unfortunately, the conscious choice that riders make to ride recklessly creates danger for all parties involved.
- Unqualified and/or inexperienced riders – it usually takes some time to get accustomed to using a new vehicle, an electric scooter is not an exception. Many people are overly-confident in their abilities to ride electric scooters. Although scooters are designed to be easy to use, there is a learning process. When people use scooters even though they are aware that they have no experience with them, they are putting themselves at risk of being involved in an accident.
Scooter Accidents Could Lead to Dangerous InjuriesThe specific injuries suffered as a result of Lime scooter accidents depend on the details of the incident. If a pedestrian was struck by a rider or fell over due to scooters blocking the way, the pedestrian is likely to suffer mild to moderate injuries. On the other hand, if the scooter rider is struck by a vehicle, the injuries sustained are likely to be more severe – or even fatal. In general, scooter riders are more vulnerable to injuries – especially considering that most of them refuse to wear helmets while riding these rental electric scooters. Although every accident is different, some injuries that victims could suffer include the following:
- Back injuries
- Hand and arm injuries
- Head injuries
- Hip injuries
- Knee injuries
- Knee injuries
- Leg and foot injuries
- Neck injuries
- Nerve injuries
- Pelvic injuries
- Road burns
- Shoulder injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Torn ligaments
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrist and ankle injuries
Who is Liable for Lime Scooter Accidents and Injuries Suffered?Who is liable for the damages that you suffered after being involved in a Lime scooters accident? The answer to that question depends on the specific details of your scooter accident. Is Lime automatically liable for all accidents involving their electric scooters? Although automatic liability would make claims much easier and straightforward for the parties involved in scooter accidents. However, Lime is only liable for accidents in very specific situations. In general, other parties carry liability. All of the parties mentioned below could carry liability for your accident depending on the details of your claim:
- Drivers: auto drivers could be liable for the damages caused by a scooter accident if their negligent and reckless actions caused the accident.
- Riders: scooter riders could be liable for the damages caused by a scooter accident if it was their own negligent and reckless actions that contributed to their accident. Riders are usually liable if their own recklessness resulted in injuries to themselves or pedestrians.
- Cities/counties: cities, counties, and even transportation agencies can be liable for scooter accidents under certain circumstances. If poor road conditions caused a scooter accident, the cities/counties could be liable.
- Scooter manufacturers: the companies that manufacture these scooters have to ensure that they their products are not defective in any way. They must ensure that their scooters are safe to use. If manufacturers fail to identify or address safety concerns with their scooters, they could be liable.
- Lime: Lime could carry liability only if their negligence contributed to the accident and the damages suffered. If the accident was caused by a defective scooter, Lime could be liable. If the accident was caused by a scooter that wasn’t property maintained/repaired, Lime could be liable. If the accident was caused by scooters that were recklessly parked blocking sidewalks and the pedestrian right-of-way, Lime could be liable.
Does Lime have Insurance Coverage?All the latest rideshare companies are generally transparent in regards to their insurance policies and how their insurance coverage could apply in the case of accidents. This is not the case for scooter-share companies. In fact, online searches for insurance information usually result in no real answers. Does Lime have insurance? Will Lime’s insurance cover your damages after being involved in a Lime scooter accident and suffering injuries? California law does not require scooter riders to have insurance coverage. Because of this, it is not surprising that there is not an excess of insurance information readily available for Lime scooters. However, scarce insurance information does not mean that Lime is not insured. In fact, Lime is self-insured – something that has become increasingly more common with up-and-coming companies like Lime. What does it mean when a company is self-insured? When a company is self-insured, they accept all financial responsibility for any and all claims that arise (whereas an insurance company would carry all financial responsibility for claims). Since Lime is self-insured, scooter accidents will likely be covered under very certain circumstances. Lime cannot and will not cover any damages that directly result in the negligent actions of their riders. What does this mean? If the scooter accident suffered was caused by the rider’s negligent actions (such as ignoring traffic laws, weaving in/out of traffic, riding while distracted, and riding under the influence of drugs/alcohol), Lime will not be liable. Lime will not be liable for any damages caused by the negligence and recklessness of riders. If you did not negligently cause or contribute to your scooter accident, Lime might cover your damages. However, if another party negligently caused your accident, Lime might not accept financial responsibility. On the contrary, the party that recklessly caused your accident and your injuries might be financially liable. What if Lime’s negligence caused your accident? If Lime’s negligence resulted in your accident and your injuries, they will be financially liable for all harm suffered. Overall, being covered by Lime’s insurance depends on the specific details surrounding your accident.
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Past Incidents with Electric ScootersAlthough electric scooters, such as Lime scooters, are relatively new types of personal injuries, there is already an extensive record of incidents. Consumer Reports found that there have been at least 1,500 reported injuries related to electric scooters since late 2017. These injuries involved a number of scooter-share companies, including Lime. In Los Angeles, specifically, JAMA Network Open found that 249 people visited the emergency room due to injuries related with scooter accidents during a one-year period. The majority of these people (91%) were injured as riders; a small, but still significant portion of injured victims (8%) were non-riders (such as pedestrians). Although there are statistics to show that scooter accidents are happening, these statistics could be misleading – especially considering that most hospitals do not track these types of accidents (because they are new types of personal injury accidents). Over the last couple of years (since scooters began changing last-mile transportation options), there have been many incidents – some of which get media attention. Consider some of the following incidents:
- In September 2018, Ngoneh Secka was involved in a scooter accident in San Diego. Secka unlocked a scooter and was in the process of testing the brakes as part of the normal safety check that she had established when using rental electric scooters. However, the brakes malfunctioned, and she could not bring the scooter to a stop – instead, she sped down a steep hill until eventually ending up on the ground, in pain and bleeding.
- In March 2018, Sharona Kaplan suffered a scooter accident in Santa Monica. She had to suddenly swerve while riding a scooter after a toddler ran in front of her. The sudden swerve resulted in Kaplan falling, suffering arm injuries to both arms. Her injuries required surgery and physical therapy.
- A woman from the Los Angeles area was walking with her son on a sidewalk. Suddenly, a scooter rider crashed into her at full speed (approximately 15 miles per hour). The woman was knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion.
- In Austin, Mark Sands, a 21-year-old exchange student was involved in a fatal scooter accident. According to the police, the student was riding a Lime scooter down a busy street. He was riding the scooter the wrong way when a collision occurred. Sands suffered severe injuries and died one day later at the hospital.
Relevant Lawsuits Surrounding Scooter AccidentsAlthough there are no lawsuits directly related to Lime scooters, there have been many other cases involving scooter accidents and scooter injuries. Although there might be some differences between these scooter accident claims and Lime scooter accident claims, these cases are still relevant in understanding how scooter accident claims are concluded. Consider the following examples of scooter accident lawsuits: Roche Hahan and Marielisa Villasenor v. Morning Chuang and Eve Chuang – on February 15, 2015, Roche Hahan and Marielisa Villasenor (a married couple) were riding on a scooter in San Francisco. The scooter (operated by Hahan) entered the intersection at a green light, striking the vehicle operated by Morning Chuang – who had run a red light. The Chuang vehicle then collided with another vehicle. Hahan and Villasenor suffered knee injuries, clavicle injuries, and forearm injuries. The injuries suffered required extensive treatment. Overall, the claimants accused Morning Chuang of negligently operating the vehicle and causing their accident/injuries. The jury agreed with the claimants – awarding them a total of $3.26 million. Hahan was awarded $334,000 for future medical costs, $700,000 for past pain/suffering, and $1.35 million for future pain/suffering. Villasenor was awarded $26,000 for future medical costs, $16,000 for past lost income, $800,000 for past pain/suffering, and $400,000 for future pain/suffering. Brittany Bagwell v. Courtney Miller and David Miller – on April 8, 2014, Brittany Bagwell was riding her scooter in a residential street. The vehicle that was driving in front of Bagwell suddenly slowed down, stopping near parked vehicles. As Bagwell tried to pass the vehicle (which was stopped with brake lights on and no turn signal), the vehicle suddenly made a left turn in front of Bagwell’s scooter. The victim was unable to avoid the collision and suffered a number of injuries, including injuries to her face, head, legs, chest, and knee. Bagwell’s injuries were not life-threatening and did not require surgical treatment, although they did require physical therapy. Experts claimed that Bagwell would definitely require extensive treatment in the future for some of her injuries; Bagwell was also expected to be in pain for the rest of her life. Although the victim sought a total of $814,000 in damages, she was awarded only $400,000. This recovery included compensation for past medical care ($16,964), future medical care ($23,000), past pain/suffering ($140,000), and future pain/suffering ($220,036). Zeferina Rodriguez and Juan Rodriguez v. Kyle Nobutisi Masui, Amy Masui, City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, and State of California Department of Transportation – on March 9, 2015, Chris Rodriguez, the plaintiff’s decedent, was riding his scooter in his neighborhood in Los Angeles. The victim entered a blind and uncontrolled intersection. He was struck by a car driven by Kyle Masui (and owned by Amy Masui). When Masui struck the victim, he was speeding – going anywhere from 10 to 15 miles over the speed limit. The intersection where the victim was struck was known for its dangerous conditions – all of which had been made aware to the city. The claimants accused Masui of negligently operating the vehicle. The claimants also accused the city of negligently failing to address the poor road conditions that contributed to their son’s death. The case settled for $2.6 million. The city of Los Angeles paid the claimants $2.5 million. Masui’s insurance covered the remaining $100,000.
Conclusion– in the three cases mentioned above, the scooter accidents were directly caused by the negligent actions of a party (or multiple parties). It does not matter whether your scooter accident was caused by the negligent actions of a driver or a city who failed to maintain road conditions (or any other party who recklessly caused your accident); you can be certain that the liable party will be held accountable. When it is time to file your Lime scooter accident claim, do not be discouraged by the fact that there haven’t been many of these lawsuits before. It doesn’t matter you was liable for the damages resulting from your accident; with effective representation, your case will reach a successful outcome.
How much is Your Lime Accident Injury Case Worth?If you or a member of your family suffered harm after a Lime scooter accident, you might be considering the possibility of pursuing a claim and fighting for the right to recover compensation. For many people, the potential value of their claim is enough to help them decide whether to pursue legal action. In general, people are unlikely to spend time and money on filing a claim if the outcome is not worth the trouble. How much is your Lime accident case worth? Because Lime scooter injury cases are so recent, there isn’t enough information regarding past case values. However, it is still possible to determine the value of your Lime scooter injury claim by evaluating the details of your claim and understanding how these details affect your claim’s value. What types of injuries did you suffer? In general, injuries are associated with medical bills. Therefore, severe injuries are always associated with high medical expenses. If your injuries required extensive treatment, including future medical treatment, the cost associated with your injuries will increase. If you need long-term care or if your injuries are permanent, this cost will also increase. How did your accident and your injuries affect your mental and emotional state? In general, being involved in an accident and suffering injuries could result in significant mental and emotional stress. Victims could be left dealing with embarrassment, anxiety, depression, fear, and post-traumatic stress, for example. If your accident and your injuries caused and will continue to cause mental/emotional distress, the value of your claim will increase. Did the injuries you suffered prevent you from being able to work? The value of your claim will increase if you were left unable to work temporarily or permanently. The accident and injuries that you suffered might have left you unable to earn income. The way your lost income affects the value of your claim depends on your wage history and the projected earning that you could have made had you not suffered an accident. The value of your claim will also increase if the accident resulted in death. After determining the different factors that affect the value of your claim, you might find that you are eligible to recover compensation for all or some of the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
What Should You Do after a Lime Accident?After being involved in any personal injury accident, it is important to take action as soon as possible. Because scooter accidents and injuries are still new to the personal injury, many victims and their families do not know how to act. Taking action after a Lime scooter accident is even more complex due to the overwhelming lack of information available for potential claimants. What should you do after being involved in a Lime scooter accident? Acting promptly ensures that you have the tools necessary to eventually reach a successful claim outcome. Consider the following recommended actions (note: victims should follow the steps below in the order that works best for the specific circumstance):
- Seek medical evaluation as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you might even need to be transported to the emergency department. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, it is important for you to be medically evaluated. There must be a clear record of the injuries that you suffered and the treatment you received.
- Photograph your injuries. If your injuries are visible, you should take photos of your injuries. You should take photos of your injuries immediately after your accident, after treatment (surgery, for example), and after your injuries have been healed. This pictures will help demonstrate how you were affected by your injuries.
- Photograph the scene of the accident. You should try to take as many photos as possible of the scene of the accident, including all the vehicles involved, the damage vehicles sustained, and the scene as a whole. These pictures will help experts better understand how the accident occurred. If your accident was caused by poor road conditions, you will need to take clear photos of the road conditions that caused your accident. If your accident was caused by a defective Lime scooter, you will have to take photos of the defect and any serial numbers/barcodes on the scooter.
- Collect information of parties involved. You will need to collect important information from all parties involved in the scooter accident. You should collect their contact information, vehicle information, license information, and insurance information, for example.
- Collect witness information. If there were any witnesses to your scooter accident, you should ask them for their contact information. You should also ask them if they would be willing to provide you with statements to support your claim. If witnesses recorded video or took photos of the accident, you should ask about getting access to that evidence.
- File a police report. You will need to contact the police and file an accident report. The police report will be a key element to support your claim.
- Report the scooter accident to Lime. You will need to contact Lime to report the accident that you suffered. You should be able to report the accident through the mobile application. When reporting the accident, do not accept liability or say anything that might be used against you.