In addition to being cost-effective and eco-friendly, electric scooters (e-scooters) are fun to ride, which accounts for their growing popularity over the last five years. E-scooters are a practical transportation option in urban areas and college campuses, where cars have limited access and parking is scarce. However, the increased number of e-scooters on Michigan streets has led to a corresponding rise in accidents. And, unfortunately, many of these accidents result in serious injuries to e-scooter riders, pedestrians and others. Here is an overview of electric scooter accidents in Michigan and how to protect your rights if you are injured.
While there are no specific laws for electric scooters, these vehicles are subject to the same rules as “electric skateboards” as established by the Michigan Vehicle Code.
The legal definition includes the following characteristics:
Additionally, while all vehicles in this category are equipped with electric propulsion systems, some are designed with an optional manual mode.
While there are no specific laws for electric scooters, these vehicles are subject to the same rules as “electric skateboards.”
According to the Michigan Vehicle Code, the following laws apply to e-scooters:
Riders who violate public safety codes could be charged with a misdemeanor and may be subject to a maximum fine of $500 and/or up to 90 days in prison.
NOTE: Certain municipalities, including the City of Detroit, have enacted their own e-scooter ordinances. Therefore, it’s important to know the local laws before you ride.
Certain risks are inherent in every vehicle or apparatus designed to transport people from one place to another. This is true of motorized vehicles such as cars and motorcycles, as well as manual devices such as bicycles and skateboards.
Electric scooters are particularly dangerous because riders have little impact protection in the event of a crash, much like bicyclists and motorcyclists. And, as e-scooters have grown in popularity, so has the number of accidents. A CDC study found that half of the e-scooter accidents that occurred in a given time period resulted in serious injuries. Furthermore, 45% of the victims sustained head or brain trauma, while almost 40% suffered broken bones.
Here are some of the factors that contribute to the danger of e-scooters:
This depends on the circumstances of the accident. Like motorcycles and bicycles, electric scooters are not considered motor vehicles under Michigan law. Therefore, No-Fault insurance does not apply unless an automobile or truck was involved.
If an e-scooter rider is injured in a crash with a motor vehicle, the rider may be entitled to No-Fault benefits, which include reimbursement for accident-related medical expenses, lost wages, replacement household services and more.
However, while Michigan No-Fault policies used to include unlimited lifetime coverage of “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses, insurance reforms enacted in 2019 gave vehicle owners the option to choose lower levels of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical benefits. Therefore, as of July 1, 2020, PIP medical coverage is limited to the amount specified in the insured person’s No-Fault policy.
Recommended reading: What Every Driver Should Know about the New No-Fault Insurance Law
Further, if the driver of the motor vehicle was more than 50% at fault for the accident, the e-scooter rider may be able to recover non-economic damages, commonly known as pain and suffering, in addition to medical bills that exceed the insured’s policy limits.
These cases are extremely complex, requiring extensive medical documentation and adherence to strict filing deadlines. Therefore, hiring an experienced accident attorney is the best way to ensure a successful outcome.
Determining responsibility for an e-scooter accident involves a variety of factors, depending on the circumstances. For example, when a motor vehicle is involved, the e-scooter rider may be entitled to Michigan No-Fault benefits. And, if the driver was more than 50% responsible for the crash, the victim may also be able to sue for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
An electric scooter accident involving a pedestrian or bicyclist typically would not involve No-Fault benefits. However, if someone is injured as a result of another person’s negligence, the victim may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses or non-economic damages such as chronic pain or permanent scarring or disability.
In yet another scenario, if an accident occurs because of a malfunctioning e-scooter, responsibility may lie with the rental company, the mechanic who last inspected or repaired the equipment or the manufacturer.
In some cases, more than one party may be responsible for the victim’s injuries. This is why it is important to contact a reputable electric scooter accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine the best course of action for your situation.
It is common for providers of recreational equipment and services to require liability waivers to prevent customers from suing for injuries or property damage. The terms of these agreements, which may be included in the rental contract, vary widely. In addition, they are often written in legalese not meant to be understood by the average person. As a result, many users sign these contracts without realizing what they are agreeing to until it is too late.
As stated earlier, e-scooter accident cases are complex, and waivers and other indemnity agreements can make winning a lawsuit even more challenging. Nevertheless, signing a waiver may not necessarily prevent a victim from suing the responsible party and winning a sizable settlement. This is where the expertise of a knowledgeable electric scooter accident attorney can prove invaluable.
If you or a loved one is injured in an electric scooter accident, we can help. Our knowledgeable legal team knows what it takes to win your case, and we have the expertise and resources to make sure you receive the compensation you and your family deserve.
Electric scooter accident law is complicated, but finding the right accident lawyer is simple.
Don’t let the legal clock run out. To get your case started, fill out the brief form below or call 1-800-CALL-SAM for a free, no-obligation remote consultation from the safety and comfort of your home.
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