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By Royce Nunley

If you’ve been to Detroit recently, you are sure to have seen the fleets of electric scooters traversing the streets of the city. On any given day, hundreds of folks use these e-scooters to get to work, go shopping, or just take a little joyride. Whether you own one or rent one from Bird, Lime, or the half-dozen other companies that maintain them, you’ve probably found them to be easy to ride and fairly inexpensive when compared to other transportation options in Motor City. They are also environmentally friendly, producing absolutely no greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, over 2,000 scooters are currently riding around Detroit this summer. 

Nevertheless, despite the best efforts of various companies, electric scooter accidents do occur. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), over 119 people were killed while riding e-scooters in the five-year period from 2017 to 2021. In addition, scores more have suffered an e-scooter accident injury of one kind or another. This can involve colliding with a motor vehicle, or simply hitting a curb and being tossed off the electric scooter. Therefore, you need to know what you can do to avoid getting hurt, and what happens if you do get injured and need to file an e-scooter lawsuit.

How common are e-scooter injuries?

With electric scooter usage on the rise, we are also seeing an increase in the number of people injured while riding one of these vehicles. Across the country, accidents involving electric scooters have risen dramatically. There were less than 5,000 riders injured on e-scooters in 2014. That national number ballooned to almost 15,000 by 2018. In addition, since 2017, 1,500 of these have involved serious injuries. A big reason for this was the introduction of e-scooter rideshare companies in urban areas like Detroit.

The main injuries are to the head and neck, which represent over 40% of all hospitalizations for e-scooter accidents, according to the Henry Ford Health System. Of these, injuries to the brain are the most common, which can be some of the most serious, presenting long aftereffects. Henry Ford also reports seeing a large number of fractures, lacerations, sprains, and contusions.

What can you do to reduce the chances of an accident while on an e-scooter?

Probably the best thing you can do before you get on an electric scooter is to wear a proper helmet. This will shield your head, reducing the risk of a serious brain injury. You should also wear knee and elbow pads to protect these vulnerable areas. To cut down on the chances of a serious laceration, wear long pants and a shirt with sleeves. However, you should make sure not to wear anything that might constrict your movements. Being properly balanced will help keep you safe on your electric scooter.

You should also be familiar with the electric scooter you are using, and avoid excessive speed. In addition, you must observe the traffic laws. Michigan has taken steps to address how electric scooters are treated under the law, which refers to them as electric skateboards. These rules include staying to the right side of the roadway, not weaving in and out of traffic, and yielding to pedestrians on sidewalks and crosswalks. 

What are your rights if you are injured on an e-scooter?

If you do get injured when riding on an electric scooter, you may be able to receive compensation if the accident involved a motor vehicle. Under Michigan law, all motorists are required to have No-Fault insurance. This will cover the reasonable medical expenses of anyone injured in the crash. You can also recover up to 85% of lost wages for up to three years if you are out of work as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. These No-Fault coverage payments apply even if you were the one who caused the collision. 

What happens if the accident involves a pedestrian? Then you may face a lawsuit from the pedestrian seeking compensation for injuries, especially if you are at fault. Unfortunately, most auto, homeowners, and umbrella insurance policies don’t cover e-scooter accidents. Therefore, you may want to check with your insurance company before you get on that electric scooter.

Also, while most e-scooter rideshare companies carry insurance, they also have riders like you sign a release when you download their app. This means that you may not be able to sue the company that rented you the e-scooter unless you can show that the accident was caused in whole or in part by a faulty device. 

Call Our Firm If You Are Involved in an Electric Scooter Accident

If you are injured in an electric scooter accident, you are going to want to make sure that you receive proper compensation. At the Nunley Law Group, our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of personal injury law here in Michigan and can assist you with your e-scooter lawsuit.

About the Author
Royce Nunley practices in the areas of Family Law, Criminal Law, Social Security, and Personal Injury law. Royce graduated Cum Laude from Wayne State University with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. He continued his education at Wayne Law, where he received his Juris Doctorate Cum Laude. Named to Superlawyer’s “rising stars” in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 for his work in Family Law.