Fort Lauderdale Lime & Lyft Scooter Accident Attorney
Electric scooters first came to the Fort Lauderdale area back in 2019, but nearly from the beginning, these vehicles have posed serious injury risks and concerns. Indeed, in 2019, a deadly electric scooter accident happened when a 27-year-old rider sustained a deadly traumatic brain injury in a collision with a motor vehicle. By 2020, the city’s e-scooter program was paused in part due to COVID-19 concerns, but e-scooters will soon be back in the Fort Lauderdale area, and they are currently in operation for rentals in other areas of South Florida. With the return of electric scooters to Fort Lauderdale in early 2022, the likelihood of serious scooter accidents and injuries will rise. While e-scooter riders are required to use a bike lane or a sidewalk and cannot travel at speeds above 12 miles per hour, electric scooters will nonetheless pose injury risks.
While renting an electric scooter might sound like a fun activity or an easy mode of transportation whether you are a Fort Lauderdale resident or a visitor to the city, it is important to remember that e-scooters are dangerous and have been linked to many different types of severe and fatal injuries. If you or someone you love got hurt in an electric Lime scooter or Lyft scooter accident, you should seek advice from one of our Fort Lauderdale electric scooter accident attorneys today.
Learning More About Lime Scooters and Lyft Scooters in Fort Lauderdale
Lime scooters and Lyft scooters are part of a relatively new program of rideshare scooters in various cities across the country. In order to rent one of the scooters, you download an app to your phone (just like you would for a rideshare car service like Lyft or Uber), and you use the app to scan a code in order to rent one of the scooters. Then, you can take the scooter wherever you want to go. Generally speaking, the scooters have a service area, and riders are charged a fee for taking the scooter outside the service area. Otherwise, there are not a lot of rules from the companies for using these products. Rather, both Lyft and Lime emphasize that scooters can be ridden in various places, and can be taken in bike lanes, on bike paths, on sidewalks, and even on the streets.
While the companies make numerous recommendations for safety, such as wearing a helmet and appropriate footwear, and being mindful of pedestrians, there are no specific safety rules of this nature to which riders are bound. Florida does have a statewide law concerning electric scooter use that applies to rideshare scooters like those rented by Lime and Lyft. Under that law, electric scooter riders must be at least 16 years old, but they are not required to have a driver’s license (as some states require). According to Florida law, electric scooters must be operated in bike lanes and must follow any rules that apply to bicyclists.
Getting the Facts About Electric Scooter Injuries
Electric scooters can be extremely dangerous. The following are some key statistics concerning electric scooter injuries in Florida and across the country from Science Daily and Consumer Reports:
- Head and neck injuries make up almost 28 percent of all reported injuries on electric scooters;
- Riders between the ages of 18-44 are among those injured most often, followed by riders aged 17 and younger;
- Injuries and emergency room visits have increased notably since the introduction of electric scooters into regions of the country;
- More than 100,000 e-scooter injuries were reported between January 2009 and December 2019, and the rate of e-scooter injuries continues to rise;
- Since 2017 and the introduction of rideshare programs for e-scooters, the risk of sustaining a serious injury has increased by 3.5 times, and the risk of sustaining a head or neck injury has increased by 4.5 times;
- Between 2009 and 2017, more than 92,000 patients required treatment at emergency departments for e-scooter injuries, and nearly 10,000 of them required hospitalization.
Common Injuries in Fort Lauderdale Lime Scooter and Lyft Scooter Accidents
Using electric scooters, including Lime scooters and Lyft scooters, can lead to accidents that result in many different kinds of serious injuries, including but not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including concussions;
- Other types of head and neck injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs);
- Fractures, or broken bones; and
- Damage to internal organs.
Causes of Fort Lauderdale Scooter Accidents and Injuries
There are many potential causes of Lime scooter and Lyft scooter accidents and injuries in South Florida, including but not limited to the following:
- Scooter rider error, including distracted riding, traveling in locations that are not appropriate for the scooter, speeding or traveling at unsafe speeds, or intoxicated riding;
- Motorist error (when an accident involves a collision with a motorist), including distracted driving, aggressive driving, drunk driving, or even drowsy driving;
- Uneven pavement or roadway;
- Obstacles in the roadway or bike lane where the e-scooter is being used;
- Defect in the design of the e-scooter or one of its parts;
- Defect in the manufacturing process of the e-scooter or one of its parts;
- Failure to warn consumers about the risks of using and operating e-scooters.
Safety Tips for E-Scooter Injury Prevention in Fort Lauderdale
What can you do to avoid a serious injury while using a rideshare electric scooter? Medical professionals and safety advocates recommend the following:
- Always wear a helmet (and bring your own helmet), even if a helmet is not required by state or local laws;
- Bring your own knee pads and elbow pads, and wear them throughout the time you are using the e-scooter;
- Do not wear clothing that can easily constrict your body movements, or especially loose clothing that may get caught in the scooter;
- Learn about the specifications of the particular e-scooter you plan to rent before you use it, and understand how to ride appropriately;
- Avoid consuming any alcohol or any other kind of intoxicating substances before you use an e-scooter;
- Never give into any distractions while you are on an electric scooter, such as attempting to talk on a smart phone (even if it is hands free), listening to music, or taking your mind off the task of riding safely; and
- Be sure to observe all traffic laws and to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
What Should I Do After a Lime Scooter or Lyft Scooter Accident?
After an e-scooter accident in South Florida, it is critical to gather as much information as possible and to begin preparing for the claims process. Our Fort Lauderdale Lime and Lyft scooter accident attorneys recommend that you consider taking the following steps after an accident to preserve your right to seek financial compensation:
- Document the scene where the e-scooter accident happened as best as you can: Take photographs at the scene of the accident, being sure to take pictures that capture the broader area as well as close-up images that show details of property damage and injuries.
- Get witness information: You should take the names and contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident or witnessed the injury in any other way. Witnesses may be critical for your case if you need to file a lawsuit against another motorist, property owner, designer or manufacturer of the e-scooter, retailer of the e-scooter, or any other party who may be responsible for your injuries.
- Seek medical attention: Regardless of whether you think you sustained serious injuries in the e-scooter accident, you should have a medical assessment as quickly as possible. There are numerous types of injuries that may not produce immediate signs or symptoms, including some types of head injuries. By seeing a doctor, you can be treated quickly and in a timely manner. In addition, you may be able to avoid the defendant attempting to argue that you bear some responsibility for the severity of your injuries because your injuries worsened since you did not see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
- Hire a Florida scooter accident lawyer: Whether you plan to file an insurance claim or will be seeking compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, it is essential to have an experienced attorney on your side throughout the process who has experience handling cases similar to your own. Your lawyer can also help you to determine the best path forward for seeking compensation, whether that means filing an insurance claim and later considering a lawsuit, or moving forward with a civil lawsuit against the liable party.
Liability for Fort Lauderdale E-Scooter Accidents and Injuries
Who is liable for your e-scooter injuries? The answer to that question will depend upon the particular facts of your case, and a Fort Lauderdale e-scooter accident lawyer at our firm can assess your case to determine liability. In the meantime, the following are parties who may be at fault for the injuries you sustained in a Lime scooter or Lyft scooter accident in South Florida:
- E-scooter rider;
- Motorist in a truck or car;
- Property owner (who is responsible for the property where the accident occurred);
- Lime, Lyft, or another scooter company;
- Designer of the e-scooter; or
- Manufacturer of the e-scooter.
Statute of Limitations for a Scooter Accident in Fort Lauderdale
Most e-scooter accident lawsuits must be filed within four years from the date of the injury according to the Florida statute of limitations. The clock on the statute of limitations starts to tick on the date of the accident, and you will have four years from that time to file your lawsuit. Any lawsuits that are not filed within that time window will be what is known as “time-barred” under Florida law. In other words, the statute of limitations will have run out and you will be ineligible to obtain compensation by filing an e-scooter accident lawsuit.
Some e-scooter accidents will have a shorter statute of limitations, however, so it is essential to seek advice from a Fort Lauderdale e-scooter injury lawyer as soon as possible. For example, if the e-scooter accident occurred on a public sidewalk or in a public park, and the injury resulted from poorly maintained pathways, a lawsuit may need to be filed within two or three years, and additional steps may need to be taken soon after the accident in order for you to be eligible to receive compensation.
Seeking Damages After a Lime Scooter or Lyft Scooter Accident
You should anticipate being able to seek compensatory damages after your e-scooter accident, which can include compensation for the following:
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages or earnings;
- Prescription medications;
- Surgery costs;
- Rehabilitation; and
- Pain and suffering.
In some limited cases, it may be possible to seek additional punitive damages under Florida law.
How Comparative Fault Can Affect Your Lime or Lyft Scooter Accident Lawsuit
If you are concerned that you may have been partially at fault for the e-scooter accident, or if the defendant raises the issue of comparative fault, your damages award ultimately could be reduced by the percentage of your own negligence or fault. However, you should speak with a lawyer about refuting comparative fault claims and proving that you are entitled to 100 percent of your damages award.
Seek Advice from a Scooter Accident Attorney in Fort Lauderdale Today
Were you injured while riding a Lime scooter or a Lyft scooter? You are not alone. Although electric scooters are becoming extremely popular in Florida cities and urban areas across the country, these motorized scooters can be extremely dangerous. Not only can riders get hurt when they are riding a scooter and are involved in a collision with a pedestrian, bicyclist, or object, but riders can suffer life-threatening and fatal injuries in collisions with motor vehicles.
If you were injured while riding an electric scooter, you may be eligible to file a claim for financial compensation. One of our experienced Fort Lauderdale electric scooter injury attorneys can evaluate your case for you today. Contact Boone & Davis to learn more about how we can assist you with your Lime scooter or Lyft scooter accident claim.