If you’re an urban dweller or you like to vacation in cities across the U.S., you may make it a practice to rent an electric scooter to make your morning ride through city streets faster than driving your car or taking public transportation. Or you may simply find it fun and exciting to go scootering around the city. Most cities have had Bird scooters, for example, available for easy pick-up and return at various rental kiosks in various key spots since 2017.
What you likely fail to realize, however, is that these scooters have been found to be inherently dangerous vehicles, often causing their riders catastrophic injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that at least 41 Americans lost their lives between 2017 and 2019 in e-scooter accidents. Upwards of 133,000 others were injured during the same time period. As experienced Charlottesville, VA injury lawyers – including those who work at MartinWren, P.C. – can confirm, it is important for scooter accident victims to be educated about their rights under the law, as many accident victims are unaware of the opportunities for legal recourse available to them.
Typical Electric Scooter Injuries
While you can sustain an almost unlimited list of injuries if your scooter malfunctions or crashes, the most common injuries sustained by riders include the following:
- Broken bones, particularly in your ankles, legs, wrists, arms, hands and shoulders
- Broken nose
- Concussion or other traumatic brain injury
- Facial lacerations
You may face a substantial hospital stay for any of the above injuries, partially due to a possible need for surgery. You may also require lengthy physical therapy after your hospital discharge.
Class Action Lawsuits
Not surprisingly, Bird and its main competitor Lime, along with Segway, Inc. and Xiaomi USA, Inc., the companies that manufacture these scooters, have been named as defendants in various class action lawsuits, the most notable ones being launched from Florida and California. These lawsuits claim the following:
- Malfunctioning brakes
- Malfunctioning acceleration systems
- Malfunctioning throttles
- Handlebars that suddenly fall off
- Wheels that suddenly fall off
- Sudden and unexpected fires
The lawsuits also allege not only that Bird and Lime fail to train the users of their respective scooters, but also that their respective literature fails to warn of the vehicles’ inherent dangers, even when used for their intended purposes. In other words, the lawsuits allege that neither Bird nor Lime scooters are fit for repeated public use and the companies have therefore breached their warranties.
If the Bird or Lime scooter you’re riding injures you, you should be automatically included in one of these class action lawsuits. A local personal injury lawyer can help you file the proper paperwork to become part of the appropriate lawsuit in a formal capacity. You likely will then hear from one of the lawyers representing the class action participants. They undoubtedly will question you about the particulars of your own accident to make sure that your facts and circumstances parallel those of the other plaintiffs. If they don’t, you always have the option of opting out of the class action and having your local personal injury lawyer file an individual suit on your behalf.