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Washington, DC Scooter Accident Lawyer

The electric scooter boom has come to Washington DC and it’s here to stay. Electric scooters are motorized versions of kick scooters. DC residents can rent them by the minute and leave them…anywhere! The e-scooters are “dockless” and can be “docked” anywhere - a stop sign, or even on the ground, as soon as the rider is done. Rental companies like Bird Scooter charge as low as $.10 to rent per minute, while Lime offers riders a $.15 per minute charge.

If you were involved in an e-scooter accident in Washington DC, you have rights to compensation. The scooter accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long understand the trauma accident victims are going through, both physically and emotionally. They offer free consultations to prospective clients and will take the burden of the claims process off your shoulders so you can focus on the most important thing: a full recovery.

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Nearly 1 in 6 District residents use an e-scooter to commute to and from work. They are a great way to enjoy the DC scenery, while avoiding its awful rush hour traffic. However, electric scooters, while fun and convenient, can also be quite dangerous to riders and pedestrians sharing the walkways. WTOP reports that around 30% of scooter riders who are involved in an accident on the scooters suffer fractures or broken bones, while another 30-40% suffer traumatic head injuries.

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What Are Common Types of Scooter Accidents?

E-scooter accidents are unique because the scooter acts as sort of a vehicle, but interacts on sidewalks with normal pedestrians and in bike lanes. So, accidents can range from e-scooters colliding with passenger vehicles to scooters colliding with people walking or riding bikes.

Single Scooter Accidents
Most accidents involving scooters are single vehicle accidents, where the rider simply loses control, either making a turn too quickly or misjudging the road conditions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, e-scooter riders are twice as likely to be injured than a cyclist because of a crack in the pavement or a pothole on the sidewalk. Riders also run the risk of taking a spill if they swerve in an attempt to avoid hitting a pedestrian.

Accidents with a Motor Vehicle
Since 2018, 30 people have been killed in an electric scooter accident. About 80% of those deaths were from collisions with cars. The majority of these accidents happened near driveways or crosswalks, where the scooter approached the car from the driver’s right side, making it difficult for the driver to see the scooter approaching.

Accidents with a Pedestrian
Washington DC’s daytime population is well over one million people on any given day. Since e-scooters are allowed on the sidewalks, there is a constant high risk of getting into an accident with a pedestrian. According to the IIHS, most accidents involving pedestrians are scooters crashing into pedestrians, or swerving to avoid the pedestrian and crashing into something else.

Accidents with Another Scooter
Even though the Washington DC law clearly states that scooter drivers should not exceed 10 mph, electric scooters can reach up to 30 mph. Since there are no regulations on licensing or safety classes, many people are first-time riders. Inexperience with handling the equipment paired with the inexperience of navigating the sidewalk or bike lane, greatly increases the chance of an accident with another scooter.

If you were the victim of one of these types of accidents, you may have rights to compensation. Call the personal injury lawyers at Regan Zambri Long for a free consultation where you can discuss your legal options.

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What Are DC Electric Scooter Laws?

The rise in electric scooters forced Washington DC to implement new laws regarding the mode of transportation. These laws are strictly enforced and are meant to keep the streets as safe as possible for all commuters. The newest DC laws for e-scooter commuters are:

  • Scooters are not allowed in the Central Business District.
  • Scooters are allowed on sidewalks (outside the Central Business District) and in the bike lanes.
  • Scooter speed limit is 10 mph.
  • Riders must be 16 or older.
  • Riders are not allowed to wear headphones while using the scooter.
  • Riders must obey traffic signals and all the rules of the road.
  • Only one person is allowed on a scooter at a time.
  • Riders will be fined $150 if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Scooter companies must put a cap on the number of scooters they offer to 7,000 per company.
  • Riders must yield to pedestrians.
  • Riders must not operate the scooter with a passenger or package that keeps them from gripping the handle bars with both hands.
  • Riders are not required to: wear a helmet, have a driver’s license, or carry insurance.
  • Scooters must be appropriately locked up at designated racks or other objects. If the scooter is locked up to a stop sign, for example, the scooter must maintain at least three feet of unobstructed walkway.
  • Companies must offer 24-hour hotlines to report complaints.
  • Companies must offer free, virtual safety classes for new riders.
  • Scooters are not allowed within 300 feet of elementary or middle schools or senior wellness centers, unless they are near a Metro station.
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What Are Common DC Scooter Accident Injuries?

The severity of the injuries victims sustain from scooter accidents largely depend on how the accident occurred. If the rider collides with a car, the chances of severe injuries greatly increases. A study from the JAMA Network found that the top three injuries from scooter accidents are:

Head Injuries
The study from the Jama Network confirmed that only about 4% of electric scooter riders use head protection when riding. Head injuries can range from a mild concussion to a life-threatening traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. A severe TBI can alter a person’s life and take years to recover, if recovery is possible at all. Traumatic brain injuries can result in convulsions, seizures, or coma. Victims of TBIs can also experience weakness in extremities, loss of coordination, slurred speech, and confusion.

Fractures
Studies show that arm and leg fractures are, unfortunately, common results of scooter accidents. While fractures may not be life-threatening conditions, they can cost the scooter accident victim a lot of money in medical costs. According to one study on scooter accident-related injuries, the Journal of Clinical Medicine found that almost half of the victims who sustained fractures from a scooter accident needed orthopedic surgery. Severe enough fractures can render the victim incapable of driving or taking long mass transit trips, which can affect his or her capability to return to work right away. If you suffered a fracture as a result of a scooter accident, call the Regan Zambri Long scooter accident lawyers. They will work to ensure you are compensated for medical expenses and lost wages.

Soft Tissue Injuries
The third most common injury from scooter accidents are soft tissue injuries. These kinds of injuries are when the victim’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments are affected from the accident. Though these injuries are sometimes overlooked, they can cause chronic pain and take years to fully recover. Symptoms from soft tissue injuries include:

Other injuries from scooter accidents include:

Who Is Liable in a Scooter Accident?

Since there are several ways an e-scooter accident can occur, there are several parties that can potentially be held responsible for the accident. This is exactly why you need a Regan Zambri Long scooter accident lawyer by your side. Determining the party at fault for your accident is the most essential component to winning your case. Your lawyer will use the evidence gathered to discern the party or parties at fault and then relentlessly work to make sure they are held accountable for their actions.

The possible parties liable for your e-scooter accident are:

  • A motor vehicle driver: Drivers can cause e-scooter accidents by driving distracted, drowsy driving, speeding, driving while intoxicated, and reckless driving.
  • The e-scooter company: If you were provided a faulty bike, then the e-scooter company could be liable for your accident. It is the responsibility of the scooter rental company to properly maintain the scooters before each and every trip.
  • The e-scooter manufacturer: Sometimes, even with proper maintenance, there is a flaw in the design of the scooter. If your accident was caused by a faulty scooter because of an inherent flaw in its design, your Regan Zambri Long product liability lawyer may determine the scooter manufacturer is ultimately responsible for your accident.
  • Washington DC: The sidewalks and roadways in the District need to be properly maintained, especially with many of its residents now occupying them with scooters. If your accident was caused by a dangerous pothole, debris on the road, malfunctioning traffic lights, or uneven and poorly kept sidewalks, you may have a claim against Washington, DC for your scooter accident.
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What Damages Can I Collect from My Scooter Accident?

DC Council Moves to Widen Legal Protections for E-Scooter Riders Involved in Accidents

The recent DC contributory negligence law makes it easier for scooter riders, cyclists, and pedestrians to sue for damages following an accident. Generally, contributory negligence, which is practiced in DC, Virginia and Maryland states that if the plaintiff (the person making the claim) is at all responsible for the accident, then that person cannot recover damages. However, the new law titled The Vulnerable Collision Recovery Amendment Act of 2019 states that “vulnerable users” (an individual using a bike, scooter, motorcycle, skateboard, or other similar mode of transportation) only has to prove that they are less than 50% at fault for the accident in order to collect compensation. This makes it easier for e-scooter accident victims to collect damages for the following:

Frequently Asked Questions About Scooter Accidents in Washington, DC

Q: What insurance will cover a scooter accident?

A: DC e-scooter riders should be aware that while the scooter rental companies carry liability insurance, the digital rental agreement that riders have to sign before taking a scooter usually relieves the company of liability. Certain bigger scooter companies in DC, such as Bird and Lime, offer some form of protection to the rider if the scooter is found to be faulty. Be sure to speak to your Regan Zambri Long scooter attorney regarding the accountability of the rental company and if you have a legitimate claim against them. Other forms of insurance scooter riders can use when they are involved in an accident are:

Q: What should I do if I’m involved in an electric scooter accident?

A: The first thing you should do is call 911, especially if you hit your head during the accident. Injuries are not always visible right away and can develop or worsen with time. Call 911 and report the accident right away. The responding police officer will be able to assist you with the medical treatment you need and will generate a police report of the accident. Make sure to follow the instructions of the officer and do not leave the scene of the accident until you are told to do so.

After your immediate medical needs are addressed, start documenting the scene of the accident. Take photos and video of your own scooter and the vehicle or scooter you collided with. If there are witnesses present, take down their information including their names and phone numbers. Your Regan Zambri Long scooter accident lawyer will use all this documentation in your claim to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation.

Finally, contact a Regan Zambri Long scooter accident lawyer as soon as possible. Do not speak with anyone’s insurance company, sign any documents, or agree to any settlements before speaking with a lawyer.

Q: I am a pedestrian and injured myself falling over a dockless scooter?

A: Scooter riders are not the only ones who are at risk of injury because of the devices. DC streets were littered with dockless scooters, obstructing private property, blocking handicap-accessible ramps, and obstructing pedestrian walkways. In fact, there were so many pedestrian complaints and injuries from tripping over the dockless scooters that a law was passed requiring riders to dock the devices to bike racks, scooter corrals, or DC signage. Even so, plenty of scooters remain on the streets. If you were injured by a dockless scooter in Washington DC, reach out to the Regan Zambri Long scooter accident lawyers to discuss the legal options you have moving forward.

Q: What are some good resources for scooter riding in Washington DC?

A: The Washington DC Department of Transportation launched GoDCgo as a great resource to learn how to safely explore DC via scooter. It offers helpful, interactive DC maps, as well as plenty of safety tips.

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Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

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