If you live in any urban area, you have seen the latest in transportation – the scooter. While these vehicles may be convenient, often called e-scooters can result in serious injury or death. The dangerous element of these e-scooters has been well chronicled and the more common they become, the more it becomes apparent that these devices are very dangerous, often times poorly maintained and the people that drive them are not skilled in the operation, endangering themselves and those around them. This danger, and the increase in the amount of injuries as the e-scooters become more common was recently chronicled by CNN.
Helmets are not provided at the time of rental, which exposes the rider to significant injuries to the face, head, neck and lower body depending upon the how the accident occurs and significant traumatic brain injuries has resulted from the use of these vehicles. Doctors in hospitals have reported a spike in e-scooter related injuries – as much as 161% in Salt Lake City according to the Washington Post in a recent article. Part of the problem is a lack of experience, inferior design, congested streets and sidewalks, and poor maintenance of the scooters. Once an incident occurs, and after treatment commences, the issue of liability must be addressed regarding whether there is fault on the part of the e-scooter company which was a cause, or the cause of the injuries to the rider or someone who is struck by the scooter.
Usually, downloading an app to use an e-scooter, requires an agreement to hold the company harmless from liability in the event of an incident. This becomes was is called an “adhesion contract,” because the user has no ability to negotiate any terms in the agreement, and is forced to either agree to the terms or not use the product. Depending upon your jurisdiction, these one-sided agreements are not enforceable and are intended to dissuade a rider from seeking compensation from the company who rented the scooter. As these vehicle become more prevalent, clearly there will be more injuries and greater scrutiny of the danger created by the use of these vehicles.
Our law office represents persons injured in automobile, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian accident cases. We reviewed these apps and have determined that there are many reasons these one-sided rental agreements cannot be enforced against the operator or anyone else injured by the scooter. Great care should be taken before using one, and if injured, you should consult with our office to determine whether we can help you recover damages for injuries sustained while riding an e-scooter, or by being struck by someone renting a scooter.