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E-Scooters, or electric scooters, are enjoying a huge amount of popularity in Australian cities. Whether a ride-share rented e-scooter, or a privately owned e-scooter, much favoured by inner-city commuters everywhere, the e-scooter seems to be here to stay. 

While e-scooters are a fun, easy way to commute and to get around the city, they also come with some risks due to the fact that they can be fast and offer very little in the way of protection from injury - save for the use of a helmet! Accidents involving e-scooters are sadly far too common - sometimes with tragic consequences.

There has been a rise in the number of people suffering from injuries sustained during e-scooter use, which begs the question - who is responsible if you crash and are injured while renting an e-scooter? What happens if you are riding your own e-scooter and are injured? Or who is responsible if you are walking or cycling and someone on an e-scooter crashes into you? 

We are going to answer some of these questions and discuss where you may be able to make a claim for compensation if you have been injured in an e-scooter accident, or due to someone else’s e-scooter use.

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Common e-Scooter riders’ injuries

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Riding an e-scooter can be a fun and carefree way to get around the city, but you are also susceptible to a range of injuries if you come off your scooter - especially if you are riding at speed. Some of the common e-scooter injuries that may be sustained while riding, or when colliding with an e-scooter include:

  • Broken legs - an e-scooter is a solid piece of metal. If you come off the scooter at any kind of speed and fall onto the base or handles you risk suffering a broken leg, or worse.
  • Head injuries - it is critical that you are wearing a helmet at all times when riding, otherwise you risk suffering a serious injury to your head. In Queensland, the use of a helmet while riding an e-scooter is mandatory, even when riding a privately-owned scooter. 
  • Broken arm and broken wrist - a natural instinct when crashing is to extend your arms to break your fall. Unfortunately, it is often your arms that may end up broken as you come into contact with solid ground. The wrists are particularly susceptible to injury due to their delicate nature.
  • Broken jaw - coming off a scooter puts you at great risk of sustaining a jaw injury as your body makes contact with the ground or whatever object you have crashed into. A jaw injury may cause concussion, and can also result in a broken jaw or mouth injuries.
  • Fractured teeth - a risk of injury to anyone when coming off a scooter and being injured is suffering an injury to teeth due to impact with the ground. Teeth injuries can be very difficult to treat and can cause serious problems down the line.
  • Spinal injuries - while potentially less likely than broken bones, a spinal injury is possible when coming off a scooter or when being struck by someone riding an e-scooter. Spinal injuries are significant and can cause serious disabling injury.
  • Grazes and cuts - while not as potentially painful as some of the other possible injuries you can suffer while riding a scooter, a graze or cut can be serious if infected, and can also cause scarring which may be unsightly.

E-Scooter rental injury compensation

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When riding a rented e-scooter, you assume responsibility for the safe operation of the scooter. You also agree to be over the age of 18, and to abide by all road rules and to not be under the influence of any substance that may impair your ability to ride safely when using your scooter. 

If you are involved in an accident while using an e-scooter, you may be able to claim for your injury, loss or damage suffered as a result of your crash - depending on who you are renting your scooter through. A common law claim may be possible if you can show for example that there was a mechanical fault with the e-scooter causing your injury or loss.

Example 1: Bevan is riding a rented e-scooter home from work one afternoon when the front wheel seizes up as he is riding down the footpath. He is flung off the scooter and breaks his arm, leaving him unable to work for six weeks while he recovers. Bevan’s arm heals but he is left with permanent numbness in his hand which causes him discomfort and occasional pain. Bevan would be able to make a WorkCover claim for his lost wages and medical treatment, and would also be able to make a common law claim against the e-scooter hire company for their faulty scooter causing his injury.

Example 2: Gisella is coming home from a night out when she decides to ride an e-scooter instead of walking. Gisella is intoxicated and subsequently comes off the scooter as she is not paying attention to the road. She breaks her wrist and needs physiotherapy to recover a full range of motion, but compensation from the e-scooter hire company would be excluded, as Gisella was intoxicated and the accident was caused by her own negligence.

If you have had an e-scooter accident that was not caused by your own negligence, you may be able to make a common-law claim for compensation from the hire company. Speak to Murphy’s Law about the possibility of making a compensation claim.

Privately owned e-Scooter compensation

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Many people choose to invest in their own e-scooter as a cheap and easy way to commute in and out of the city in which they live. However, accidents can still happen when you are riding your own scooter which is why it is so important to take care and wear the appropriate safety equipment. If you do come off your own scooter, what kind of compensation can you look to claim?

E-scooter fault - if there is a mechanical or safety fault with your scooter you may be able to make a claim against the manufacturer or the store you purchased it from for any loss sustained as a result of your accident.

Motor vehicle accidents - if you are riding your e-scooter safely and are hit by a vehicle, you may be able to make a claim for compensation subject to certain requirements. - you would need to ensure that you were not riding on the road, as this may negate your claim. You must also always be using the scooter in accordance with your state’s rules for use.

Public liability - the options for claiming for compensation against public liability insurance are limited purely to situations where a footpath or other type of infrastructure failed, causing injury.

Speak to your home and contents insurer about whether they can cover you for personal injury as your liability insurer. Your scooter will likely be covered if stolen under any contents policy, but it is worth finding out if you may be able to get cover for any injury under your home and contents insurance provider.

Can I claim compensation if I was hit by an e-Scooter?

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If you have been hit by someone riding an e-scooter you are likely going to be very shaken up at best, and possibly seriously injured at worst. 

The unfortunate state of things with a person on person accident is that, anyone who is injured and not at fault will need to make a civil claim for compensation for injuries and any loss directly from the person who was responsible for the accident. 

This can be a difficult task, especially if the person who has caused the accident has fled. Some e-scooter companies are beginning to roll out third-party insurance covering people who have caused injuries. However, as this area of insurance and the laws around it are still in their infancy, it is best to seek legal advice if you have been injured as a result of someone else’s e-scooter use.

How are e-Scooter claims calculated?

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An e-scooter compensation claim takes into consideration any loss of income or financial loss suffered as a result of the injury. A claim will look at the extent and severity of injuries along with any medical or treatment expenses. 

A claim for compensation may include:

  • Healthcare and medical treatment relating to the injury
  • Lost income, both past and future, as well as any associated superannuation
  • Ongoing care and treatment required as part of reasonable treatment
  • In-home care and support, even if provided by a family member
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment in life
  • Degree of permanent impairment

It is helpful to speak to a lawyer if you are considering making a claim for compensation so that you know where you stand and what you may be entitled to.

Time limits for e-Scooter injury claims

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If you have been involved in an e-scooter accident and need to make an injury claim, you have three years from the date you sustained your e-scooter injuries to commence your claim. In some cases, you may be able to extend this deadline for making a claim for compensation. If you were travelling to or from work, remember that you may be able to make a claim under WorkCover for workers compensation for your injuries and lost income.

Get in touch with our lawyers today at Murphy's Law, speak to us about the parties involved, and find out how we can help you commence your claim for personal injury compensation.

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