Denver is filled with e-scooters – over 2,000 of them – according to Denver’s Mile High Magazine. But people are getting injured left and right in e-scooter accidents and injury victims should know that they may be entitled to compensation if the accident was caused by another person’s negligence.
Denver previously categorized electric scooters as toy vehicles which only allowed them to be ridden on sidewalks but prohibited from bike lanes and roadways. However, when Denver City Council changed the category of electric scooters from “toy vehicles,” to “electric mobility scooters,” that ordinance allowed electric scooters to be operated in bike lanes and roadways, but excluded them from sidewalks.
Furthermore, electric scooters can only be ridden on sidewalks under certain circumstances, such as when there is no bike lane, or when the posted limit on the road is over 30mph.
With this change, Denver saw a surge in electric scooter injuries. In this article, we’ll discuss how electric scooters and their new stipulations have started to send more people to the ER. Additionally, we’ll discuss what you need to know about your rights after getting injured in an electric scooter accident and how a Denver electric scooter accident lawyer can help you obtain financial recovery.
How Common Are E-scooters Accidents in Denver?
Denver’s Public Ride Reports Micromobioity Dashboard indicates an average of over 17,000 to 30,000 e-scooters rides per day. E-scooter trips have also replaced nearly 4.2 million trips on some of the busiest streets in Denver, but there’s a grim downside to this new mode of transportation. Since the scooters made their debut in Denver in 2018, over 2,500 operators have ended up in the Denver Health Emergency Department.
Scooter related injuries are seldom minor ones – they usually involve broken bones and fractured skulls. Several people have even died in e-scooter accidents. It’s important to understand that if you or your loved one was injured or killed in a Denver e-scooter accident, you need a legal professional who can help you find out if you’re eligible to seek compensation for all the damages you’ve suffered.
What Type of Injuries Result From Denver Electric Scooter Accidents?
The number of accidents that result from e-scooters is sending people to the ER at an alarming rate. As injury victims pour into ERs, doctors in Denver and across the country report seeing a trend; the injuries people come in with from e-scooter accidents are very similar to those of car accident injuries.
Common injuries that result from e-scooter accidents, similar to car accidents, include:
- Broken bones
- Broken noses
- Broken wrist bones
- Lacerations on the face
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage from internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Facial fractures
- Head fractures
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
One Doctor in a Denver ER reported seeing as many as ten severe injuries from e-scooter accidents every week. While e-scooters look like toys, they can inflict the same or worse level of injury as motor vehicles on the roadways. Scooter mechanics, doctors, and lawyers support this idea, and would agree that there aren’t enough scooter safety regulations that scooter companies need to abide by.
Denver’s Growing Issue of E-scooter Accidents
According to an article from The Colorado Sun, Craig Hospital, Denver’s local center for brain and spinal cord injuries, is seeing more and more patients with injuries from e-scooter accidents. The injuries are often severe ones like traumatic brain injury and can have lasting impact on the victim’s life. The article reports that injuries from e-scooter accidents are a common occurrence that doctors and medical professionals reot seeing on a regular basis.
E-Scooter Injury Statistics in Denver, Colorado
Current statistics from Denver Health Emergency Physicians’ reports indicate that between January 2021 and October 2022, there have been an average of 4 electric scooter-related injuries daily.
What adds to the problem of electric scooter incidents is that people don’t understand the dangers before operating them. An orthopedic surgeon recently conducted a study on scooter injuries and published an article in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, stating that while scooters are a new and effective mode of transportation, people are using them the wrong way. For example, many choose to ride an electric scooter while intoxicated as an alternative to driving, but the risks of injury are just as high, if not higher.
What Companies Provide E-scooters in Denver?
Currently, only Lime and Lyft provide E-scooters for rent in Denver. Lime deployed the first line of electric scooters in Denver back in 2018. They gave very little warning about the dangers of electric scooters and also lacked approval from Denver’s City Council as far as operational regulations. As a result, Denver launched a pilot micro mobility program with numerous additional companies.
However, not all of the companies became long-term providers. In May of 2021, Denver only signed contracts with Lime and Lyft to rent e-scooters and e-bikes throughout the city. Since then, e-scooters have become more accessible than ever to residents of Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Fort Collins. It’s as simple as downloading and activating a payment method on an app, and then virtually anyone is eligible to pick up a scooter on the street.
What Is Causing So Many People to Get Injured in Electric Scooter Accidents?
There are various contributing factors that can lead to electric scooter accidents resulting in severe or even catastrophic injuries. For starters, negligent or reckless drivers can hit e-scooter riders in the bike lane and cause them to suffer severe injuries. Another reason people get injured in electric scooter collisions could be that the scooters are poorly maintained. Lastly, safety and other regulations on e-scooters are pretty lax.
Since it only requires a smartphone and proof of a vehicle to qualify, there isn’t much regulation on who is allowed to use e-scooters. This results in many young and unqualified operators getting into serious accidents and walking away with severe injuries. But sometimes, faulty brakes or poor mechanical design on e-scooters is to blame. Sticky accelerators are also a common culprit for accidents where operators report losing control of the scooter.
Scooter Companies Try to Eradicate Lawsuits and Require Binding Arbitration for Scooter Accident Victims
If you get injured in an e-scooter accident, determining fault is dependent upon the circumstances and details of the accident. It could be the scooter company, another driver, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist. It could even be you, the scooter operator.
The issue that arises with many e-scooter accidents is that the monopoly providers like Lime and Lyft require renters to sign a contract where they agree not to sue. Instead, the contract prompts e-scooter operators to resolve disputes through “binding arbitration,” which usually puts the injury victim at a disadvantage. Basically, binding arbitration means you can’t sue the company if you get injured. Instead, you agree to resolve any disputes in front of an arbitrator rather than through the court system.
Why Are Electric Scooters So Dangerous?
Electric scooters require the operator to push a throttle rather than using their foot to manually generate speed as does the traditional design. The throttle is usually as easy as using your thumb to push the throttle, or acceleration, and your hand to brake, slow, or stop.
You can pick up the scooter from any designated rental location and then drop it off at a designated area. While these are fun and convenient ways to get around, motorized scooters present certain dangers.
First off, even with certain regulations for electric scooters, most riders don’t actually know about the laws and regulations. That includes knowing where they can and cannot operate scooters. Secondly, e-scooter riders seldom wear helmets, which often leads to traumatic brain injury or other severe head trauma.
Scooters can pick up much more speed than you’d think, some reaching speeds of up to 15 mph. While this seems slow for a vehicle, when a person without a protective barrier is riding a motorized scooter at this speed, the propensity for catastrophic injury in a crash increases drastically. Yet another issue is that many scooter operators don’t wear appropriate footwear or clothing while riding. Wearing shoes, pants, and sleeves that cover the arms can make a huge difference in injury outcomes in the event of a crash.
Lastly, e-scooters often operate with distractions, just like drivers, pedestrians, and motorcyclists. Wearing headphones or other distractions increases the likelihood of a collision or crash.
Who Is Liable for My Injuries in a Denver Electric Scooter Accident?
If a vehicle driver causes an accident with the e-scooter, that’s considered negligence and they are liable.
It’s also possible for another party to be liable for the accident, such as:
- The scooter rental company. This would be the case if the accident was caused by some sort of mechanical defect or malfunction.
- A government or public agency responsible for roadway maintenance if the accident was caused by unkempt roads or dangerous conditions on the road.
- Another third party who somehow contributed to your e-scooter accident and caused your injuries.
Remember, it’s also possible for the scooter operator to be partly responsible for causing the accident. If the scooter rider is partly at fault for the accident, their financial compensation could be affected. Generally, their award amount gets reduced by the percentage of fault they contributed to the accident.
An example of a scooter operator who is partially at fault would be if they were riding on the sidewalk and got into a crash. Since Denver laws require motorized scooters to stay off of the sidewalks, they would be found partially at fault through Denver’s contributory negligence standards.
Get Legal Help From Experienced Denver Electric Scooter Accident Lawyers Today
Our legal team is very well-versed and experienced in handling electric scooter accident cases. These types of cases often have unique complexities that require an in-depth understanding of the law and skilled legal counsel to devise a strategy to win your case.
If you or a loved one was injured in an electric scooter accident, it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable Denver Personal Injury attorney as soon as possible. We are here to protect your rights and understand all of your options. When you let us handle your case, you can focus on healing from your physical injuries and gain some peace of mind knowing you have a greater shot at recovering financially. We will fight aggressively to win you full and fair compensation for all of your losses and damages.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation.