You have important legal rights if you are the victim of a scooter accident caused by another party’s negligence. You may be entitled to file an injury claim and seek compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the accident. An experienced scooter accident lawyer can fully explain your rights and options after an accident. Knowing your rights empowers you to make informed choices as you take legal action and cope with injuries.
How Scooter Accident Cases Can Be Unique
Scooter accidents can differ from traditional vehicle crashes in essential ways that impact legal cases. Here are some of the unique factors to consider with scooter accidents:
- Riding electric scooters on sidewalks in Oklahoma City is prohibited (Ordinance § 11-1205).
- Injuries while illegally operating a scooter on a sidewalk can complicate injury claims. Expect the insurance company to claim you are partially at fault for the accident.
Classification as “Vehicles”
- Scooter companies like Lime classify their scooters as “vehicles” in user agreements.
- This vehicle designation means scooter riders must follow traffic laws regarding signaling, lane usage, overtaking other vehicles, etc. (Ordinance § 11-303).
Out-of-State Companies and Laws
- Many scooter companies like Lime and Bird are based in California.
- Their user agreements often specify California state law governs any legal disputes. However, for accidents occurring in Oklahoma, local laws would take precedence. If the case includes one of the manufacturers as a defendant, an arbitration out-of-state will likely be required. Hopefully, Oklahoma courts will agree the scooter company’s binding arbitration agreements are unenforceable.
Durability and Maintenance Issues
- Rapid wear and tear and improper maintenance can lead to equipment failure.
- Brake and steering mechanism issues are common due to heavy use.
- Mechanical defects point to potential negligence claims against rental companies.
Burden of Proof
- The unique aspects of scooter accidents place extra importance on evidence gathering.
- Documentation of improper sidewalk riding, traffic violations, and poor scooter condition is essential.
Coping With Injuries
Scooter accidents can leave you with significant injuries like broken bones, head trauma, scrapes, and bruises. Along with physical pain, you may experience emotional stress from mounting medical bills, inability to work, and more. Here are some tips to help cope with injuries:
- Take things one day at a time. Don’t think too far ahead; focus on your healing.
- Lean on your support system. Turn to family, friends, or support groups for encouragement.
- Keep a positive mindset. Visualize yourself making a full recovery.
- Get plenty of rest. Your body needs sleep to recuperate.
- Follow doctor’s orders for treatment and recovery. This speeds up healing.
- Find activities that help distract you from pain and keep your spirits up.
Understanding Scooter Laws and Regulations
Most cities have regulations governing electric scooter usage. In Oklahoma City, essential laws include:
- Speed Limits: Scooters cannot exceed 15 MPH on city streets.
- Helmet Requirements: While not legally mandated, a helmet is strongly advised for safety.
- Off-Limit Areas: Scooters are prohibited from being ridden on sidewalks. Use bike lanes or city streets instead.
- Traffic Laws: Scooter riders must obey all standard traffic signs, signals, and road rules.
Scooter Safety Tips
Being a safe, defensive scooter rider significantly reduces accident risk. Keep these safety tips in mind:
- Wear safety gear, including helmets, knee/elbow pads, and proper footwear.
- Ride at safe speeds appropriate for the conditions. Slow down at intersections.
- Watch for potholes, debris, and other road hazards.
- Avoid distracted riding. Don’t use phones or wear headphones.
- Be extremely visible with lights, reflectors, and bright clothing.
- Follow all traffic laws and be alert to vehicles and pedestrians.
- Check tire pressure and brakes before each ride.
- Take a safety training class if you are new to riding scooters.
Types of Scooter Accidents
There are several common accident scenarios involving scooters:
- Collisions with cars – Scooters have very little protection than cars, often leading to serious rider injuries when broadsided or rear-ended.
- Pedestrian collisions – Riders may hit pedestrians if they do not carefully watch for people walking on sidewalks and crosswalks.
- Bicycle collisions – Scooters and bikes sharing designated lanes create the potential for collisions when riders are careless.
- Poor road conditions – Potholes, debris, slick surfaces, and other hazards can cause loss of control and falls.
Factors That Contribute to Scooter Accidents
Why do scooter accidents happen in Oklahoma City? Some common causes include:
- Reckless riding – Speeding, unsafe maneuvering, or distraction can easily lead to losing control and crashing.
- Distracted driving – Drivers talking on cell phones or not paying attention are a significant hazard to scooter riders.
- Disobeying traffic laws – Ignoring traffic signs, signals, and right-of-way rules often results in collisions.
- Defective parts or electronics – Problems like faulty batteries or brakes turn scooters into dangerous machines.
- Poor visibility – Scooter visibility is reduced for drivers at night or in bad weather.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Being involved in a scooter accident is stressful enough without making legal mistakes that could impact your case. Avoid these common missteps:
- You settle a claim too early before thoroughly assessing your situation and long-term needs.
- You failed to gather enough evidence and documentation about your injuries and expenses.
- They delay needed medical treatment, which can exacerbate injuries and complicate claims.
- You are not consulting an experienced scooter accident lawyer for expert legal guidance tailored to your case.
- You are trying to negotiate a settlement without understanding liability laws and your rights.
Determining Liability and Fault
Establishing clear liability and fault is crucial in the aftermath of a scooter accident. An in-depth investigation involves:
- Reviewing all police reports related to the accident.
- Visiting the scene to look for hazardous conditions that may have contributed.
- Checking traffic cameras or other surveillance systems for video evidence.
- Identifying negligence through eyewitness accounts and expert analysis.
- Understanding negligence laws and comparative fault rules in Oklahoma.
- Pinpointing any mechanical defects or maintenance issues with the scooter.
- Examining the training and safety record of any rental scooter companies involved.
Documenting the Accident Scene
Taking steps to document the accident scene comprehensively provides vital evidence to support your claim. Be sure to:
- Take photos of any injuries you sustained at the scene and throughout treatment.
- Photograph all property damage, positions of vehicles, and conditions that may have contributed to the accident.
- Obtain contact details for any eyewitnesses who saw the accident occur.
- Request a copy of the official police report detailing the responders’ scene assessment.
- Note the exact time, location, weather conditions, and other relevant situational details.
- Save the clothing and safety gear worn during the accident in an undisturbed state.
Seeking Medical Attention
Getting timely medical care after a scooter accident is critical, even if your injuries initially seem minor. Here’s why prompt treatment matters:
- Adrenaline can initially mask serious injuries like internal bleeding or fractures.
- Documentation from doctors will be needed to validate any physical or psychological harm suffered.
- Delaying treatment gives insurance companies reason to dispute the extent of your injuries.
- Proper diagnosis right away can minimize long-term impairment from injuries.
- It would be best if you started recording all accident-related medical expenses.
Don’t risk your health – get checked out and follow all doctor’s orders for recovery. Your lawyer can use these medical records later as evidence.
To prevail with an injury claim, it’s necessary to document all the losses you’ve incurred. Be sure to collect:
- Itemized medical bills, invoices, and receipts for treatments, prescriptions, devices, etc.
- Pay stubs or employer records showing time missed from work due to the accident.
- Written statements from witnesses describing the events they observed.
- Photographs and video documenting the scene, vehicle damage, and injuries.
- Police report, accident recreation diagrams, and investigation findings.
- Store receipts for any damaged personal property like helmets or clothing.
Filing Insurance Claims
You’ll need to file claims with one or more insurance companies following the accident:
- Notify your insurer of the accident and complete any required reporting paperwork. This gets your claim initiated quickly.
- If another vehicle was involved, file a claim with their insurer once the fault is established.
- For rental scooters, the operating company should have insurance to address damages.
- Keep meticulous records and follow up frequently on claims processes. Ask about any deadlines.
- Avoid accepting low initial settlement offers before thoroughly investigating available coverage.
- Consult your lawyer to ensure you maximize compensation across all applicable policies.
Steps After Hiring a Lawyer
Once you’ve retained an attorney to handle your scooter injury case, here are the following steps:
- They thoroughly investigate all accident details to establish negligence.
- They consult medical specialists to assess the extent of your injuries and treatment prognosis.
- They quantify all categories of monetary damages related to the incident.
- They file an official personal injury lawsuit against verifiable at-fault parties.
- They leverage their litigation skills to negotiate a favorable settlement aggressively.
- If a satisfactory settlement isn’t achieved, they take the case to court for a decision by a judge or jury.
- They facilitate receipt and distribution of any damages awarded.
Getting Compensated for Damages
If negligence contributed to your scooter accident, you may receive compensation for:
- Medical expenses – All hospitalization, treatments, surgery, devices, and rehabilitation costs.
- Lost income – Salary and benefits lost if injuries prevented you from working.
- Property losses – Repairs or replacement for damaged property like vehicles or gear.
- Pain and suffering – Monetary compensation for physical pain caused by injuries.
- Emotional distress – Damages related to psychological trauma, anxiety, and grief.
- Loss of enjoyment – Diminished participation in life activities or hobbies.
- Disfigurement – Payment for permanent scarring or disability from injuries.
Time Limit for Filing Claim
In Oklahoma, you usually have two years from the date of injury to file a scooter accident lawsuit seeking damages. Failing to take legal action during this window forfeits your rights to compensation. It’s critical to engage a lawyer promptly before time expires. They can evaluate your case and handle filing procedures to preserve your ability to recover damages.
Hasbrook Law provides free case evaluations to scooter accident victims in Oklahoma City and throughout the state. This is an opportunity to:
- Please review all the particulars of your accident and injuries with our knowledgeable team.
- Get answers to your most pressing legal questions and concerns after an upsetting accident.
- Receive an expert assessment of your compensation options based on case specifics.
- Understand your legal rights and strategic recommendations for proceeding.
- Evaluate our law firm and staff credentials to make an informed hiring decision.
This no-obligation consultation demonstrates our commitment to providing exceptional legal service. Contact us today to schedule.
We are available 24/7 for free consultations and aggressively advocate for scooter accident victims. Reach out now for a free case review. Our experienced Oklahoma City scooter accident lawyers are here to help get you the maximum compensation you deserve.