Electric Scooters: When Product Liability Comes into Play
Electric scooters have become a popular method of transportation in several metropolitan areas. Users can rent electric scooters from companies like Bird and Lime for a $1 flat fee and an additional 15 cents for each minute of use, then drop the scooters at their destination, ready for the next user to pick up and ride. State and city legislatures have struggled to catch up and pass appropriate safety regulations for the scooters. Another safety concern is electric scooter companies’ reliance on freelance mechanics, trained by YouTube videos, to charge, maintain, and repair their fleet of scooters. Learn how product liability issues come into play as electric scooters whiz into the sharing economy.
Electric Scooter Defects
Electric scooter companies have already faced a number of product defect claims, including failed brakes, stuck throttles, flat tires, inoperative lights, defective handlebars, and more. In February, Lime urged scooter riders to be extra cautious after learning of a technical problem that caused the scooters to brake suddenly and extensively.
Due to the sudden growth of electric scooter fleets in cities across the country, it’s likely that scooter companies were not equipped to handle the charging, maintenance, and repair the large scooter fleet required. Up until recently, Bird used independent contractors to maintain and repair their scooters.
Bird and Lime still rely on freelancers to pick up and charge their scooters, which can be considered a questionable tactic, as the scooters are in the hands of several different people and transported on different vehicles per week to keep their charge up. When riders get on a Bird or Lime scooter, they don’t know exactly how the scooter has been handled or whether it has been damaged during charging and, if anything were to happen, it would be difficult to prove what caused it. Negligent maintenance is a huge issue for these electric scooter companies and is one people are starting to bring to court. Short wheel bars, uneven wheels and weight distribution, and insufficient brake lights are product defects that have caused many accidents between scooters and pedestrians or between scooters and cars.
If a defect in an electric scooter caused the rider to crash into a car or a pedestrian, the injured party could sue the scooter manufacturer for a manufacturing or design defect. A bill is being passed in California that would make the scooter company liable if a pedestrian is struck by an electric scooter.
Hire the Right Legal Team
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a defective electric scooter, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Our Denver personal injury attorneys are well-versed in this new area of law, and we’re prepared to fight for you.
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving an electric scooter, contact The Law Firm of Springer & Steinberg, P.C. at (877) 342-1230 for a free consultation today!