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Michael Coghlan via Flickr -- https://www.flickr.com/photos/89165847@N00/45868993624Urban planners and transportation engineers describe them as “micro-mobility solutions.” Riders consider them convenient and fun. Emergency room physicians increasingly see them as a risk for major injuries.

What your views on electric scooters, you need to understand that riding one of these motorized devices can end with a trip to the hospital, significant medical bills and forced time off from work. One review of ER reports showed that e-scooter accidents accounted for 1,500 major injuries across the United States during a recent 13-month period.

A more-detailed tracking study conducted in and around Los Angles during 2018 revealed that falls from e-scooters (74 percent), collisions with objects (10 percent), and being struck by a car or bicycle (8 percent) led to head injuries (40 percent), fractures (32 percent) and cuts, sprains or bruises without a fracture (28 percent). In all, 249 scooter crash-related injuries were identified, with 92 percent of those injuries affecting riders.

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With the question of whether riding an e-scooter can be dangerous clearly being yes, the next concern is whether a scooter crash victim can file personal injury claims or a civil lawsuit. That answer depends on many factors.

Considerations include who caused the crash, the nature and severity of the injuries, who owned the scooter, whether the scooter had a design defect or was in poor repair, and where the rider was operating the scooter at the time of the accident. Going through all the scenarios could fill a law school textbook. For now, let’s look at a hypothetical crash involving a car colliding with a rider who was using one of the shared dockless e-scooters at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

The injured scooter rider would have grounds for filing and collecting on personal injury claims if evidence showed that he or she was complying with local ordinances and that the car’s driver caused the crash. Most of the rules that apply to riding bicycles in Virginia Beach also apply to riding electric scooters. This means, among other things, that scooter riders should stay on the street, obey stop lights and street signs, yield right of way to pedestrians and stay sober.

Also like bike riders, scooter riders will not be barred from seeking compensation and damages for a personal injury just because they were not wearing a helmet. Protecting oneself against head trauma and traumatic brain injuries is certainly recommended, but Virginia state law explicitly states that failing to wear a helmet will not be deemed contributory negligence of the sort that makes collecting an insurance settlement impossible.

Regardless, the car insurance company for the driver involved in the collision with the e-scooter will probably try to pin enough of the blame on the rider to avoid making a settlement. This reality makes partnering with an experienced Virginia Beach personal injury attorney a good option.

EJL

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