Getting Compensation for Injuries in Scooter Accidents
Motorized scooters and now electronic scooters (e-scooters) are growing in popularity across the nation. On May 13, 2019, New Jersey legalized the use of e-scooters. Whether you are riding a motorized scooter or an e-scooter, you may get compensation from someone who caused your scooter accident. A scooter accident lawyer will evaluate your case and let you know if you can get compensation.
Two types of scooters
If you suffer an injury in a scooter accident, you must determine what type of scooter you were riding. Under New Jersey law, a motorized scooter is a miniature motor vehicle, such as a pocket bike, a sports scooter, a mini motorcycle or a motorized skateboard. The vehicle is not manufactured in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and has no permanent Federal Safety Certification sticker affixed to it by the original manufacturer.
A low-speed e-scooter is a scooter with a floorboard that the operator stands on. The scooter has an electric motor capable of propelling the scooter with or without human assistance at a speed of less than 19 mph.
A motorized scooter is not considered motorcycle if its engine is 50 cubic centimeters or less. Motorized scooters are considered motor vehicles therefore, you must be 16 years old to operate the scooter and hold a Class E driver’s license or a motorcycle license. If the scooter cannot exceed 30 mph, the operator is not required to wear a helmet, but passengers under 16 years old must wear a helmet.
A motorized scooter is not allowed on a highway or interstate. It is illegal to lane split to pass through idle traffic. Scooters must stay close to the right-side of the road except when turning left. It is not allowed in a bike or pedestrian lane.
An e-scooter may not travel over 19 mph. It cannot block pedestrian traffic when parked on a sidewalk. Riders do not have to have a license or insurance. Riders under 17 years old must wear a helmet. Riders must obey bicycle laws. Municipalities decide sidewalk or trail riding rules.
Common injuries in scooter accidents
Motorized scooter injuries are similar to motorcycle injuries. The most common injuries sustained from scooter accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Skull fractures
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles, published the first study on e-scooter safety in 2019. The most common type of injury was head trauma. The second most common injury was some type of fracture, and the third most common type of injury was a laceration, sprain or contusion.
Causes of scooter accidents
Motorized scooters are hard to see. Head-on collisions, accidents during left-hand turns and lane splitting contribute to scooter accidents. Other causes of accidents include potholes, uneven pavement, speeding and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Major causes of e-scooter accidents include crashes at intersections, rider inexperience, speeding and alcohol consumption.
Liability for scooter accidents
A person who caused your scooter accident may be liable for your injuries. A scooter accident lawyer will need to prove the other party acted negligently. An attorney will have to show that the other party owed you a duty, breached that duty and the breach caused your injury. The driver of a motor vehicle may not have seen your scooter because they were speeding, not paying attention to the road, or were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
You may be partially at fault for the scooter accident. If your conduct contributed more than 50 percent to the accident, you may not recover compensation for your injuries. If your fault contributed 50 percent or less to the accident, you can recover compensation, but your recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.
You can recover compensation from the party responsible for the accident. You can get compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering.
What to do after a scooter accident
In the aftermath of an accident, you may be confused and overwhelmed about what steps you should take next. If you were involved in a scooter accident and you suffered injuries, then there are certain things you should and should not do.
- Call the police.
- Take photos of the accident scene.
- Get contact information from the driver and any witnesses.
- Get medical attention.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions.
- Do not admit or accept fault.
- Do not speak to the other side’s insurance company.
- Suspend or watch carefully what you post on social media.
- Contact a lawyer.
Getting legal help
A lawyer will provide a free consultation to evaluate your case. If you decide to hire the lawyer, they will investigate the case, talk to witnesses, gather evidence to prove fault and hire any necessary experts. Your scooter accident attorney will communicate with the insurance company or the lawyer on the other side to reach a reasonable settlement to compensate you for your injuries. If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer can take the matter to court.
Talk to an experienced scooter accident lawyer at Petrillo and Goldberg at 856.249.9295.