Oklahoma City Scooter Injury Lawyers
Many residents of Oklahoma City want simpler and more efficient alternatives to motor vehicles for getting around town. While traveling by foot makes for good exercise, electric scooters have gained popularity nationwide as affordable transportation options.
Motorized scooters which can obtain speeds up to 25 mph are generally popular with users, but the technology is not without certain dangers. Many people have been seriously injured in scooter accidents all over the country as the devices have become more commonplace.
Some scooter accidents are caused by inexperienced or reckless operators who strike pedestrians or collide with a vehicle. Other scooter riders are involved in accidents caused by careless or distracted drivers, and some victims were operating scooters that had defective parts or were poorly maintained. Any person who has been injured in a scooter accident could be entitled to compensation for the injuries they suffered.
With scooters only recently becoming available in many cities, the rules and regulations governing their use are still being determined in many cases. As a result, people are often confused about what options they have when they are injured in scooter accidents.
Did you sustain severe injuries or was your loved one killed in a scooter accident in Oklahoma? You should avoid speaking to any insurance company about your injuries until you have legal representation. Abel Law Firm has recovered nearly a quarter-billion dollars in compensation for our clients. You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call Abel Law Firm or complete an online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Scooter Companies in Oklahoma
Santa Monica-based Bird was the first company to unveil dockless scooters in Oklahoma City in August 2018. Shortly after, San Francisco-based Lime, which The Oklahoman reported as the largest scooter provider in the United States, began rolling out scooters in Oklahoma City after receiving the proper permits and insurance certificates.
Bird and Lime are two of the largest scooter rental companies, but they are almost certainly not going to be the only companies that will be renting scooters in Oklahoma. Other major scooter manufacturers include Skip Scooters, Spin, and Scoot.
Regardless of the scooter rental company, the rental process is the same. The user must first download the app for the rental company to their smartphone and register as a user.
Riders are then able to activate the scooters via a smartphone app for a small per-minute fee. The scooters are picked up at various locations throughout the city and left in a safe place when done.
Rental companies give riders the illusion that they are concerned for their safety. Before the scooter activates, the rider must agree to a rental agreement, in which the rider certifies that they are at least 18 years old and is familiar with operating a scooter. Then the rider certifies that they agree to follow all traffic rules including wearing a helmet. While these safety measures may seem as if the rental companies are looking out for the welfare of their riders, they are not. These are merely disclaimers intended to shield the companies from liability if you are in an accident while on one of their scooters. The rental agreement boldly states, “THIS AGREEMENT CONTAINS RELEASES, DISCLAIMERS, AND ASSUMPTION-OF-RISK PROVISIONS.” Simply put, this agreement is written for the protection of the rental company and not the rider. Ultimately, they will attempt to place all the blame on for any accident you were involved in while on one of their scooters.
Additionally, with little regulations in place governing the operation of these scooters, accidents are bound to happen. A scooter operator is not required to hold a driver’s or motorcycle license. Also, scooters and other electric-assisted bicycles are not subject to motor vehicle liability insurance requirements. Therefore, there are no assurances of their proper and safe operation. This ultimately poses a danger to scooter riders, motorists and pedestrians alike.
Though the current Public Works ordinance initially limits companies to 250 scooters for rental, this limit can be increased by 25 scooters when a company can prove that usage and demand meets expansion. This increase of scooters and unregulated operators on the road only increases the potential for dangerous accidents and injuries.
Types of Scooter Accidents
Scooters are largely intended to be used in the bicycle lanes of most city streets. Not all streets have bicycle lanes, so scooter users are forced to decide between using sidewalks with pedestrians and the actual streets with motor vehicles. While under Oklahoma City vehicle ordinance, it is illegal to operate a scooter on a sidewalk, operation of a scooter on a city street with vehicles is not illegal but highly discouraged.
Many people who ride scooters for the first time can be taken aback by the speed of the vehicles, and this lack of familiarity with scooters can often lead to operators committing errors that cause certain accidents. Scooters may collide with motor vehicles, or they could end up striking people walking on sidewalks.
Collisions involving other vehicles on the road are generally the most severe types of scooter accidents people can be involved in because scooter users are not afforded the same level of protection that is inherent for the occupants of motor vehicles. Even if scooter users wear helmets, they are usually susceptible to severe injuries in any crash involving an automobile.
Another potential scooter accident is those involving defective scooters. In these types of product liability cases, a manufacturer could be at fault if a scooter was defectively designed or defectively manufactured.
Scooter rental companies can also be liable when they fail to maintain the scooters they rent. Failure to replace damaged parts or make required repairs can often lead to scooters breaking down and causing accidents later on.
While rental scooters receive most of the attention, some people purchase their own scooters. Similar to the problems with rentals, owners can also be injured on their scooters when parts are defective or when they fail to repair or adequately maintain their scooter.
In some cases, scooter accidents may be the result of dangerous road conditions. In such cases, it may be possible that a city, municipality, business, or other entity responsible for maintaining a bicycle lane or street could be liable for its failure to correct a dangerous condition.
People who have been injured by a negligent scooter operator may have a claim against the scooter’s owner, and rental company if applicable. When a person suffers injuries because of a reckless or dangerous scooter rider, the victim should try to get the operator’s name and information before contacting police to have a report filed.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident involving a scooter, make sure that a police report has been filed and seek medical attention immediately. If possible take pictures of the accident scene. When you are capable of doing so, contact an attorney. Do not speak to anyone until you have legal representation.
Types of Scooter Injuries
One month after stories were published about scooters in Oklahoma City, The Washington Post reported that emergency-room physicians in seven major cities reported spikes in severe accidents related to motorized scooters in their locations. As the Post pointed out, there is currently no national data for scooter injuries. Some of the possible injuries that scooter riders and people struck by scooters can suffer include, but are not limited to:
- Road rash
- Muscle strains
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Some scooter injuries will heal with proper care and rehabilitation, but many other scooter victims suffer injuries that will affect them for the remainder of their lives. People who have suffered catastrophic injuries not only require lengthy hospitalization and rehabilitation, but they often have extreme difficulty being able to return to work and possibly maintaining any level of regular employment. Mounting medical bills and loss of employment can be a real financial burden for anyone recovering from serious injuries.
Some scooter injuries may even be fatal. When this happens, family members may be able to file wrongful death claims against negligent parties.
Contact an Oklahoma City Scooter Injury Attorney Today
Liability for a scooter accident can be very complicated. Most people responsible for crashes will usually deny any fault and often claim that a victim’s negligence is the cause for their injuries. Likewise, scooter rental companies will deny liability by placing the blame on the rental operator.
In truth, many different parties could be liable for a scooter accident, depending on the actual cause of the crash. That is why it is crucial that you contact a lawyer regarding your scooter accident. An attorney will be able to conduct an independent investigation of your crash to determine the actual cause, collect all related evidence, and identify all liable parties.
When you or a loved one is injured in a scooter accident, your first move should always be to seek medical attention. Even if you do not believe that you were seriously hurt, it is still a good idea to have a medical professional evaluate your condition to ensure you did not suffer an injury that has delayed symptoms. A delay in medical treatment could make proving, later on, that your injuries are accident related difficult.
If you are contacted by any insurance company, especially those representing the scooter or scooter rental company, you should refuse to make any written or recorded statement until you have legal representation. Insurers often contact victims and aggressively try to get them to accept settlements to resolve their cases, but the settlement offers are usually far less than what victims are entitled to.
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a scooter accident in Oklahoma, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. People who have been injured on dangerous scooters or in accidents caused by another party’s negligence deserve compensation and justice.
Abel Law Firm helps residents and visitors who were hurt on scooters in communities all over the greater Oklahoma City area. Call (405) 239-7046 or contact us online to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free consultation.