Can You Sue After a Bird Scooter Accident?
Electric scooters have become a familiar sight across California. While many enjoy the convenience of renting a scooter on demand, others are concerned with the legal issues posed by these scooters. Accidents involving e-scooters present new and complicated issues of liability that have not been fac
Who is at Fault For Causing an Accident Involving an E-scooter?After any auto accident, the insurance companies for the involved drivers will conduct an investigation to determine who is at fault for causing the accident. This is because the person who is at fault (“liable”) has a legal obligation to compensate injury victims for their losses. California state law follows comparative fault rules. This means that fault can be apportioned between drivers, or even to a third party (such as an auto manufacturer that makes defective brakes). If the accident was caused by another driver, that driver’s insurance company would have to pay your damages.
So can you sue Bird for an accident involving one of their scooters? That depends on what Bird did wrong. If you can prove that Bird was negligent, and this caused an accident, you may be able to recover damages from Bird. Here are some common problems e-scooters have caused:
Scooters left in the roadway or other dangerous locations
Malfunctioning scooters that are dangerous to operate
Operating without city permits or adherence to safety regulations
Impaired travel on wheelchair ramps and other disability access points
In an accident involving an e-scooter, there are many parties that could be liable. A driver could be liable for hitting a scooter rider. The rider could be partly or fully liable for not operating the scooter safely. Bird could be liable for failing to timely clear its scooters from the roadway, or otherwise obstructing traffic in a dangerous manner. Liability in your particular situation will depend on the facts of your accident. This is why it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who is knowledgeable in e-scooter legal issues.
How the State is Handling E-scooter Legal Issues
E-scooter liability is a heavily contested subject. The Northern California Record reports that state legislators are now taking up the safety issues associated with this new technology. Assembly Bill 1286 was introduced by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi of Torrance. It would require mobility service providers (such as Bird) to maintain a specified amount of commercial general liability insurance coverage. This insurance could then be available to compensate injury victims of accidents involving e-scooters. The mobility service providers would also have to enter into an agreement with the city or county that has jurisdiction over the area where the scooters are placed. In turn, the cities and counties must adopt safety rules for parking, operation, and maintenance of scooters before the providers have permission to offer e-scooters for rent or use in that area. These safety rules would reduce the likelihood of e-scooter accidents, and the insurance provisions would help make compensation available to injury victims when scooter accidents do occur.
The bill does not appear to be on this year’s legislative schedule, but will likely be taken up in the next legislative session. Even if the bill does not pass this year, or does not pass in the current form, its introduction shows that e-scooters are starting to be regulated in California. Both scooter companies and riders should pay attention to the state and local rules that are likely to change in t
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