There is no denying that scooters have taken America by storm. In Florida, residents have the option of purchasing or renting electric, gas-powered, and nonmotorized scooters as a means of transport and recreation. This recent boom in scooter popularity is being attributed to the aggressive launch tactics of competing transportation-rental companies, such as Bird, Uber, and Lime. These companies have completely altered urban transportation by inundating our street corners with pay-per-minute “e-scooters.” However, these eco-friendly and cost-effective devices are not lacking in safety concerns. In fact, scooter riders across Florida are checking into emergency rooms for head and neck injuries, broken bones, lacerations, and other life-changing injuries.
If you’ve been injured while riding a scooter, contact our Tampa scooter accident attorneys at The Fran Haasch Law Group today. Personal injury cases involving scooters and micro-transportation companies embody an untested legal frontier with a small body of precedent. To secure a favorable case outcome, you’re going to need the services of an experienced, innovative, and aggressive legal representative.
Fortunately, our trial-tested legal team has over 20 years of litigation experience and a comprehensive understanding of the various laws and regulations associated with this ever-evolving legal field. We also recognize that an injury victim can face countless physical, financial, and emotional challenges in the aftermath of an accident. For this reason, we take great care in offering our clients personalized services and compassionate guidance through each phase of their unique legal journeys. By utilizing our experience and resources, we can develop a customized litigation strategy that reflects your legal objectives and aims to maximize your claim.
Contact The Fran Haasch Law Group at (727) 784-8191 to schedule a free evaluation today
Why Are Scooters So Dangerous?
Per section 316.003(44) of the Florida statutes, the term “motorized scooter” encompasses “any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.” Because Florida law does not differentiate between electric scooters and motor scooters (which sometimes include a saddle), this definition applies to both vehicles.
All riders need to be aware of the various safety concerns associated with these vehicles:
- They are unstable by design and lack built-in safety features.
- They can be overturned by roadside clutter and cracked or uneven pavement.
- Rental companies do not provide their customers with helmets or regulate how their vehicles are used.
- Most riders aren’t up-to-date on critical state laws and regulations.
- Young and inexperienced riders treat these vehicles like toys and participate in reckless behaviors.
- Most motorists aren’t used to sharing the road with scooter riders.
- Countless scooter riders have been injured by speeding, distracted, and intoxicated drivers.
- Most e-scooter customers ignore the lengthy and skimmable rental agreement that absolves the rental company of any liability in the event of an accident.
- Distracted and negligent scooter riders have been known to hit pedestrians, cyclists, and other “scooterists.”
Understanding Florida’s Scooter Laws
According to Florida law, you need to be at least 16 years of age to operate an electric or motor scooter with a valid driver’s license. It’s also important to note that riders must obey all traffic laws and are not permitted on roads and sidewalks. Even so, it’s not unusual to see an errant scooter rider weaving through pedestrians, bicycle riders, motorists, and, of course, other riders.
At the same time, many motorists get frustrated or anxious around scooter riders because they don’t know how to navigate around or in consideration of them. In a worst-case scenario, a motorist may be responsible for a collision because they’re distracted or simply haven’t noticed a nearby rider. No matter the circumstances, if one party makes a devastating mistake – especially since scooters are both quick and quiet – it may result in a severe collision.
Florida lawmakers have established new laws and statutes to protect their constituents and keep up with the scooter craze. Before taking off a scooter adventure, it’s vital that you have a clear understanding of the following rules and regulations:
- You need to be at least 16 years of age to operate an electric or motor scooter in the state of Florida.
- You must have a valid driver’s license or motorcycle license to rent and/or operate a scooter.
- You do not need to carry scooter insurance in Florida.
- You must share the road with other vehicles and obey state traffic laws.
- You need to obey all road signs, including traffic lights and stop signs.
- You cannot carry a passenger if you’re operating a motorized scooter.
- You are not legally obligated to wear a helmet if you’re over the age of 16 and your speed never exceeds 30 mph.
- You cannot operate a scooter on sidewalks, bicycle paths, state highways, or interstates.
- You can never ride abreast with passenger vehicles or ride between lanes.
- You must stay to the right-hand side of the road unless you’re avoiding a road hazard or making a left turn.
- You need to use arm motions to signal stops and turns unless your vehicle is equipped with signals and brake lights.
Determining Liability & Pursuing Damages
Scooter accident injuries often necessitate costly medical treatments, surgical procedures, and rehabilitation services. Even seemingly “minor” accident injuries can set a victim back about $8,000-$10,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses. Pursuing a lawsuit not only holds the negligent party responsible for your injuries, it also awards damages that can protect your financial standing. For example, a successful lawsuit can yield compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning potential, property damage, and more.
You may be able to file a claim against the following parties:
- A motorist
- A fellow scooter rider
- The e-scooter company
- The e-scooter manufacturer
- A business owner (premises liability)
- The city
To obtain a positive case result, your legal team needs to identify the negligent party and collect evidence that proves their reckless actions are responsible for your injuries and financial losses. At The Fran Haasch Law Group, our attorneys can investigate your case, compile essential evidence, and advocate for your interests both in and out of court. We can also protect you from insurance company representatives who may try to undermine your case and eliminate your right to damages.
Retain Effective Legal Representation Today
Contact The Fran Haasch Law Group if you require legal guidance or representation after a e-scooter accident. Our Tampa attorneys have been representing personal injury and wrongful death cases for over 20 years. During your free evaluation, we can discuss the circumstances that led to your injuries as well as the extent of your legal options. Because we care about our clients, we provide all our services on a contingency fee basis. This means that you can pursue justice and restitution without worrying about legal fees – if we don’t win, you don’t pay.
Call our Tampa scooter accident lawyersat (727) 784-8191 to schedule a free evaluation. Our full-service personal injury law firm represents clients in Tampa, Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, and the greater Tampa Bay region.