Essential Information for Riders and Pedestrians

Electric scooters are now a familiar sight in Houston. They provide a convenient and environmentally friendly way to get around the city’s busy streets. However, as the use of e-scooters has grown, so has the number of accidents and injuries. It is important for both riders and pedestrians to be aware of the risks, legal consequences, and safety precautions related to e-scooters. By staying informed, you can ensure your safety and protect your rights if an accident occurs.

The Rise of E-Scooters in Houston

In recent years, the use of e-scooters in Houston has surged in popularity. Companies like Bird and Lime have introduced these scooters to the city, providing a convenient mode of transportation for short distances. Due to their affordability and simplicity, many individuals are opting for e-scooters over traditional vehicles. Unfortunately, the increase in e-scooter usage has also led to a rise in accidents, resulting in serious injuries for both riders and pedestrians.

Common Causes of E-Scooter Accidents

Understanding the common causes of e-scooter accidents is crucial for both prevention and navigating the legal complexities when they occur. E-scooter accidents can arise from various factors, ranging from rider error to external hazards. Below are some of the most prevalent causes:

Motorists often fail to notice e-scooter riders, especially in busy urban environments, leading to serious accidents, particularly at intersections where visibility is reduced. E-scooters, being smaller and quieter, are less visible in a driver’s blind spot, increasing the risk of collisions when drivers change lanes or make turns. Drivers may also fail to yield the right of way to e-scooter riders in areas without clear scooter lanes, creating dangerous situations. Additionally, distracted driving, such as using phones, further reduces a driver’s ability to see and react to e-scooters in time to prevent accidents. These factors combined make the roads hazardous for e-scooter riders.

Faulty equipment can be a significant cause of e-scooter accidents, often stemming from poor manufacturing, lack of maintenance, or general wear and tear. E-scooters require regular upkeep to ensure all components function correctly; otherwise, issues like malfunctioning brakes can prevent riders from stopping safely, leading to collisions. Unexpected battery failures can leave riders stranded or without power in dangerous situations, while structural failures such as cracks in the frame, loose handlebars, or faulty wheels can cause loss of control and crashes. These equipment-related problems highlight the importance of regular maintenance and quality checks to ensure rider safety.

Types of Injuries from E-Scooter Accidents

E-scooter accidents can lead to various injuries, ranging from minor cuts to life-changing conditions. Knowing the different types of injuries can help riders take precautions and seek medical help if an accident occurs.

1. Head Injuries: Not wearing helmets can result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). These injuries can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage, causing long-term cognitive and physical problems. Even minor head injuries should be treated promptly.

2. Spinal Cord Injuries: E-scooter accidents can cause serious spinal cord injuries, leading to partial or complete paralysis. Damage to the spinal cord can affect mobility and bodily functions, requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.

3. Fractures and Broken Bones: Arms, legs, and ribs are particularly vulnerable in e-scooter collisions. Falls or collisions can cause fractures, which may need surgery and a long recovery period. Broken bones can greatly limit a person’s ability to perform daily activities and work.

4. Cuts and Bruises: E-scooter accidents often result in cuts and bruises. While many of these injuries are minor, deep cuts can lead to significant blood loss and infections if not properly treated. Facial injuries are also common, which may require cosmetic surgery and can cause scarring.

5. Soft Tissue Injuries: Sprains, strains, and bruises are common soft tissue injuries from e-scooter accidents. These injuries can cause pain, swelling, and limited movement, often requiring physical therapy for recovery.

6. Internal Injuries: Blunt force trauma from an e-scooter accident can cause internal injuries like organ damage or internal bleeding. These injuries may not be immediately apparent and can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated promptly.

E-Scooter Safety Measures

To make sure you stay safe while riding an e-scooter, it’s important to take preventive measures. One of the most crucial things is to always wear protective gear. Wearing a helmet is a must to protect your head from injuries. Additionally, knee and elbow pads can prevent fractures and scrapes if you happen to fall.

Another important aspect is being aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to the road conditions, traffic, pedestrians, and any potential obstacles. Try to avoid busy areas if possible and be on the lookout for any hazards that might come your way. Following traffic laws is also essential. Make sure to obey all traffic signals, signs, and local e-scooter regulations to ensure your safety and the safety of others. If there are bike lanes available, use them instead of riding on sidewalks to minimize the risk of colliding with pedestrians.

It’s crucial to avoid distractions while riding. Keep your focus on the road and avoid using your phone, listening to loud music, or engaging in any activities that could divert your attention. By staying attentive, you’ll be able to react quickly to any sudden changes in your environment. Lastly, regular maintenance of your e-scooter is vital. Before each ride, check the brakes, tires, and battery levels to make sure everything is in good working condition. This will help prevent any mechanical failures that could lead to accidents. By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and enjoy a safer riding experience.

Legal Considerations for E-Scooter Accidents in Texas

Dealing with the legal side of an e-scooter accident can be difficult. Texas has specific laws that affect e-scooter riders and their responsibility in accidents. Knowing these laws is important for protecting your rights and getting compensation. Here are some important legal points to consider:

Rules and Regulations 

Texas Transportation Code Section 551.352 explains the rules for e-scooters, such as speed limits and where they can be used. E-scooters should not go faster than 35 miles per hour and are generally allowed on bike paths but not on roads with higher speed limits. Riders must also follow local laws, which may have additional restrictions on e-scooter use in certain areas.

Comparative Negligence 

Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule. If you are partially at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found 30% responsible for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by 30%. However, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you may be barred from recovering any compensation at all. This rule emphasizes the importance of understanding your level of responsibility in an accident.

Helmet Laws 

While Texas doesn’t require adults to wear helmets while riding e-scooters, it is highly recommended as it significantly reduces the risk of head injuries. However, helmet laws may vary depending on the city, so it’s important to check the local regulations.

Statutes of Limitations 

In Texas, you usually have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, you may lose your right to seek compensation. It’s important to act quickly and consult with a legal professional to make sure you meet all the deadlines.

Understanding these legal considerations can help you handle the aftermath of an e-scooter accident more effectively. It ensures that you take the necessary steps to protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.

What to Do After an E-Scooter Accident

If you’re involved in an e-scooter accident, taking the right steps can protect your health and your legal rights. Here are the essential actions you should take immediately following the incident:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health is the top priority. Get immediate medical help, even if your injuries seem minor. Some injuries may not be immediately noticeable and can worsen over time. A thorough medical examination ensures that all injuries are documented and treated immediately, which is crucial for your well-being and any future legal claims.
  2. Report the Accident: Contact local authorities to report the accident. Ensure an official report is filed, as this documentation will be important for any insurance claims or legal actions. The police report will provide an unbiased account of the incident, which can be critical in determining fault and liability.
  3. Gather Evidence: Collect as much information as possible at the scene. Take clear photos of the accident scene, including your injuries, any damage to the e-scooter, and any other vehicles involved. Capture the positioning of the vehicles, road conditions, and any visible traffic signs or signals. Additionally, collect contact information from witnesses, as their statements can provide valuable insights and support your version of events.
  4. Exchange Information: If other parties are involved, exchange contact and insurance information with them. This includes drivers, pedestrians, or other e-scooter riders. Ensure you get their names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance policy details.
  5. Preserve the E-Scooter: If possible, keep the e-scooter in its post-accident condition. Do not attempt to repair it before it has been inspected by a professional. The condition of the e-scooter can serve as evidence in your case, particularly if mechanical failure or defects are a factor.
  6. Consult a Legal Professional: Contact a local Houston personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They can provide guidance on the next steps, help protect your legal rights, and work to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Legal advice early on can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

By following these steps, you can protect your health and strengthen your position in any subsequent legal or insurance proceedings. Taking prompt and appropriate action is essential to safeguarding your rights and ensuring that you receive the support and compensation you need.

Protect Your Rights After an E-Scooter Accident

E-scooters offer a convenient way to get around Houston, but they also come with risks. Staying informed about the potential dangers and legal implications can help you navigate this mode of transportation more safely. If you’ve been injured in an e-scooter accident, understanding your rights and options for seeking compensation is crucial.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an e-scooter accident, professional legal assistance is critical. Contact McKinnon Law for a consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Our team will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you need to recover and move forward. We handle a range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, slip and fall, and wrongful death. Call us today to schedule your consultation and take the first step toward securing your rights and your future.