Legal Options After an Electric Scooter Injury in Portland

Electric scooter services are one of the fastest-growing trends in many American cities, and the electric scooter sharing company Bird is the fastest company to reach a valuation of $1 billion. Bird and similar companies like Lime operate by providing electric scooters around major cities. Customers pay for rides through smartphone apps and then park the scooters near their destinations for the next user.

Although many Portland residents have enjoyed the proliferation of electric scooters that provide an eco-friendly way to quickly get around town, many others have cited numerous issues with these new services, accidents being chief among their concerns. Other problems with electric scooters in Portland include riders abandoning scooters in unsafe places, such as in the middle of sidewalks, in front of stairwells, or in the street near lanes of traffic or within crosswalks.

Who Is Liable for an Electric Scooter Injury in Portland?

Various types of electric scooter accidents are possible, and any incident will typically follow the same framework as any personal injury matter. The injured party must determine who is responsible for his or her injuries and then file a lawsuit to recover damages.

  • In the event that an electric scooter rider hits and injures a pedestrian, the rider is at fault and responsible for the pedestrian’s damages. In rare cases, a pedestrian could absorb some amount of liability if he or she contributed to such an accident, such as stepping into a bike lane to jaywalk.
  • If a car crashes into an electric scooter on the road then the physical evidence from the accident will determine the responsible party. It is possible for both a driver and a scooter rider to share liability for an electric scooter accident in Oregon depending on their behavior leading up to the crash.
  • When people suffer injuries from discarded or improperly parked scooters, then liability should logically fall to the company providing the scooters if the victim had no way to foresee the accident and prevent the injury. However, pedestrians expect to navigate sidewalks and walking paths safely, so it is possible for a pedestrian to be responsible for his or her own damages if carelessness or inattention leads to an injury from a parked electric scooter.
  • Some electric scooter accidents happen due to equipment failures. Bird and other electric scooter companies have a responsibility to ensure their vehicles are safe and fit for use by the public. They have response teams that can collect and repair damaged scooters, but some scooters may break down while in operation and cause injuries. If a rider suffers an injury due to an electric scooter company’s failure to properly maintain their scooters, the company is liable for the damages despite any “ride at your own risk” disclaimers, as they rarely hold up in court.

Damages and Compensation

When a person suffers an injury due to an electric scooter accident, the responsible party is liable for the victim’s damages, such as medical expenses, lost income from time missed from work during recovery, pain and suffering, and property damages. Depending on the severity of the plaintiff’s damages, the compensation available for such a lawsuit could be substantial.

A personal injury attorney is a great resource after any type of electric scooter accident in Portland. Oregon follows a comparative negligence law, and a plaintiff’s attorney will look for evidence that minimizes any potential fault the plaintiff could have for such a claim.

Many electric scooter companies like Bird are working toward self-regulation with better app interfaces, geo-fencing technology that warns riders of unsafe parking and riding places, and better education programs for riders and customers. Until the city of Portland and electric scooter companies like Bird develop safer internal regulations and more clear-cut answers in terms of liability for accidents, personal injury attorneys are the best available resource after an electric scooter accident.