Electric scooters are popular across the United States, especially in large cities or towns with college campuses. In San Diego and other California cities, electric scooters are an increasingly popular transportation option. This has led many cities, including our own, to pass ordinances regulating their use.
Scooter companies like Bird, Lime and Razor allow consumers to rent scooters with mobile phone apps. When users are done with the scooters, they park them and walk away. This has been problematic for many cities, as scooter users sometimes park scooters in areas that are dangerous to pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists.
Unfortunately, scooters do not always come with helmets, which poses a risk to users. Scooters are also responsible for numerous accidents and injuries in California and across the United States. Brain injuries are a common outcome associated with scooter accidents.
According to a UCLA report published in JAMA Network Open, a medical journal, 40 percent of patients who received treatment in Southern California emergency rooms suffered head injuries from scooter accidents. Only 4.4 percent of the 193 patients used in the report were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
Many of the cases in the report involved minor head injuries, but five patients suffered intracranial hemorrhaging. This is a serious health condition where bleeding occurs inside of the skull. If left untreated, intracranial hemorrhaging can lead to permanent disability or death.
There are additional studies that point to electric scooters posing a brain injury risk. The Consumer Product Safety Commission ran an internal investigation on the dangers posed by electric scooters before they exploded in popularity, and found that e-scooter accidents are increasing and most often result in head and facial injuries. CPSC researchers found high rates of concussions and other closed brain injuries, such as bruising or bleeding on the brain.
Why Do Scooter Accidents Happen?
Scooter accidents may happen for a number of reasons. Other drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, cracks in the road, objects on the road, and design and manufacturing defects in the scooters may lead to an accident. Scooters also lack built-in safety features that may reduce the chances of a crash.
Younger and more inexperienced users may contribute to an accident, especially if using a scooter while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is one way a rider may cause harm to pedestrians, motorists (by causing a wreck) and cyclists. These are only a few of the many possible causes of an accident. Depending on the circumstances, more than one party may be liable for damages suffered by people harmed in the crash.
What Are the Consequences of a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Concussions are the most common type of brain injury in the United States. With a concussion, a person might experience dizziness, nausea, confusion, vomiting, drowsiness or unconsciousness. The symptoms of a concussion can persist for days or weeks in some cases, leading to mental health issues, tiredness and confusion. If a person recently suffered a concussion, then sustaining a second concussion could lead to a major brain injury and permanent disability.
The more serious types of brain injuries mentioned by the CPSC and UCLA study involve bleeding inside of the skull or bruising on the brain. Depending on which part of the brain is damaged and the severity of the injury, e-scooter accident victims could experience cognitive, movement, balance or speech problems. These are only a few examples of the possible complications caused by a brain injury. Each case is going to be different.
Brain injuries are very costly for victims and their families, even those that are not severe. This is because it may not always be possible to return to work right away, and brain injury victims may require expensive medical treatments and diagnostic tests. If the person does not have insurance, then even a diagnostic test such as a CT scan can cost thousands of dollars.
Severe brain injuries are even more problematic for survivors. In these cases, the person could require surgery, rehabilitation, home modifications, home medical equipment, and nursing services to assist with day-to-day functions. The person may not be able to work again due to the severity of the injury, which only compounds the financial problems that may occur after an accident.
Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for an E-Scooter Accident?
You may be able to file a personal injury claim for a scooter accident. This is true for people riding on scooters and people who suffer harm caused by scooter users. In this case, you would pursue a claim against the parties responsible for your damages. For instance, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the scooter company or a negligent driver who caused your accident. Each case is going to be different.
After filing a claim, you would negotiate a settlement with the insurance providers of the at-fault parties. This is where it helps to have an attorney, as an experienced personal injury attorney can help negotiate a settlement that provides for your damages. However, there are cases where the insurance company may not offer an acceptable settlement. At this point, you and your attorney could file a lawsuit in court and even move the case to a jury trial if necessary.
About Our San Diego Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers
The San Diego traumatic brain injury lawyers at Nield Law Group, APC have experience with complex personal injury cases. You may call us for a free consultation if you or a loved one suffered harm during a scooter accident. We can help you determine your possible legal options and may be able to help you pursue compensation for your damages.