Electric scooters are a fairly new variable on the roads today, but you need to know who is liable in a scooter accident and how to protect yourself.
Cities all over Utah have adopted rental e-scooters as alternative modes of transportation. Users can rent these scooters through an app on their phones. But liability may still be difficult to determine when accidents occur. Read on to learn what you need to know about scooter accident liability.
Traffic Laws for E-Scooters in Utah
In general, scooter riders are responsible for following the same traffic rules as other vehicles on the road.
Many cities have laws specifically regulating e-scooters. Because they are motorized, e-scooters are not usually allowed to travel on sidewalks.
In some places, scooters are only allowed on roads with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour. If there is a bike lane available, scooter riders should drive there. If not, you will need to drive with the flow of traffic.
It’s up to you to know the laws where you’re riding.
How Liability is Determined
Determining who is liable in a scooter accident depends on who failed to follow the traffic rules and caused the accident. These rules include proper signaling, using lights and reflectors, and observing right-of-way laws. In other words, if a scooter rider fails to follow these rules and is hit by another vehicle as a result, the scooter rider will likely be held liable.
Of course, this doesn’t excuse other drivers from being inattentive. It’s important to drive defensively, regardless of the type of vehicle we’re driving. Shared liability is also possible if the court believes another driver could have reasonably avoided the accident by being more alert.
Ultimately, every auto accident is unique, and the court will make its judgment based on the presented facts.
Also, if you’re renting a scooter, some companies have a contract mandating the rider to assume all liability, even if the scooter is defective. It’s yet to be determined how courts will rule in cases where this contractual agreement comes into effect.
Insurance Coverage for E-scooter Riders
Utah law doesn’t require scooter drivers to carry insurance coverage or a driver’s license, but that doesn’t mean they don’t cause accidents. And when they are at fault, they are responsible for paying damages like anyone else. We highly recommended getting the right kind of insurance coverage if you ride an e-scooter. Here’s what you need to know:
- Depending on the e-scooter rental you’re using, you may or may not be covered by the scooter company. Read the contract carefully.
- Car insurance does not cover e-scooters because they have fewer than four wheels.
- Motorcycle insurance does not cover e-scooters because you’re standing rather than sitting.
- Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance usually do not cover e-scooters because they’re motorized.
- Umbrella insurance policies include increased liability coverage to encompass scooter accidents.
- Some insurance companies now offer policies specifically for e-scooters.
How to Protect Yourself on or Around E-scooters
If you’re riding a scooter, here are a few tips to keep yourself and others safe:
- Wear a helmet. While this isn’t required if you’re going under 20 miles per hour, a helmet could save your life in an accident if you’re sharing the road with automobiles.
- Know and follow traffic laws. As a vehicle operator on the road, you are responsible for following all traffic laws.
- Use bike lanes where they are available.
- Do not ride on sidewalks where it is illegal. This is the case in most Utah cities.
- Keep both hands on the handlebars unless you’re making hand turn signals.
- Don’t assume other drivers will see you. Drive defensively.
If you are driving a vehicle or walking where e-scooters are present, follow these safety tips:
- Look for scooter riders specifically. They won’t be as easy to see as bikers, and they move much faster than pedestrians, so we all need to be conscious.
- Carefully observe traffic laws – fully stop at all stop signs and red lights, respect bike lanes, and stay clear of crosswalks at intersections.
- Don’t assume other drivers, including scooter drivers, will see you. Drive defensively.
What Should You Do if You’re Involved in a Scooter Accident?
- As with any other accident, your priority should be calling 911 and ensuring that you and others are ok. Especially if you were the one on the scooter, the chances are good that you took a hard hit, so you should seek medical care.
- If you’re able, take pictures of everything you can, including all damage and injuries and the state of the vehicles involved.
- Write down everything you witnessed while it’s fresh in your mind. Also, get the names of all witnesses of the accident and look for cameras that might have recorded it. The smallest details could become essential to establishing liability in court.
- Don’t admit fault. There may be details you don’t know.
- As soon as possible, contact an injury attorney if you were injured in an accident involving a scooter. Even if the facts seem clear-cut, you may need to fight in court for the compensation you deserve.
Flickinger, Sutterfield & Boulton Can Help After a Scooter Accident
E-scooter accidents can have severe consequences for everyone involved. If you’ve been in a scooter accident, don’t wait and hope that the police, court, and insurance companies will work things out in your favor. Establishing who is liable in a scooter accident can be more complicated than it seems.
Utah’s scooter laws and legal precedents are still in their infancy, but Flickinger, Sutterfield & Boulton are well acquainted with everything that has come up. We’d love to put this knowledge and experience to work for you.
Our experienced injury attorneys have been navigating Utah’s auto accident legal system for many years. We know how to put forth the facts to protect your rights, even when others are trying to obscure them. Contact us today to get help making your injury claim.