E-scooters are small, electric vehicles that can be rented by the minute through a shared mobility program. Electric scooters first arrived on Chicago’s streets in June 2018 as part of a pilot program overseen by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT).
Shared electric scooter ridership has exploded in popularity ever since the success of Chicago’s initial scooter sharing pilot programs. Now that City Hall has approved a long-term program for e-scooter vendors, including Bird and Lime, the number of e-scooters on the road will only increase.
This article discusses insurance considerations for e-scooter operators in the event of an accident.
In this Article
Do you need to have insurance to operate a shared electric scooter?
Unlike rental cars and owned cars, liability insurance is not required for scooter sharing.
Does my auto insurance cover me if I am operating an e-scooter?
Unfortunately, most auto insurance does not cover electric scooter accidents because the liability insurance policy for motor vehicles typically covers only the particular automobile explicitly written into the policy. In some limited instances, however, other policies such as an umbrella policy or health insurance may cover electric scooter riders depending on the circumstances of the accident or the terms of your insurance policy. What the policy covers (liability, med pay, health insurance, etc.) is also highly dependent on the terms of the policy.
You should check with your insurance agent or company to see if you have liability coverage before hopping on an electric scooter.
If I am injured by a driver while operating an e-scooter, does the driver’s automobile insurance cover my accident?
If you are seriously injured while operating an e-scooter because of a driver’s negligence, that driver’s automobile insurance will cover your injuries and missed work. You will need to file a claim with the driver’s insurer and provide evidence that the driver was at fault for the accident.
In Illinois, a negligent driver’s insurance will cover you up to the policy limits for:
Medical bills from bodily injury
Pain and suffering
Loss of a normal life
What if I am injured while riding an e-scooter and the at-fault driver does not have insurance or refuses to pay?
If you are involved in an accident while riding an e-scooter, and the at-fault driver does not have insurance or refuses to pay, you may be able to file a claim against your own automobile insurance policy’s uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
What if I am injured while riding an e-scooter and the at-fault driver has no insurance and flees the scene?
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident while riding an e-scooter, and the at-fault driver has no insurance and flees the scene in their vehicle, you may be able to file a claim against your own automobile insurance policy’s uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
The number of e-scooter accidents and injuries will undoubtedly rise alongside the rise in popularity of scooter sharing as a means of transportation.
Below are some common e-scooter accident examples along who should be held responsible.
Hit By Car
Even though e-scooters are required by law to ride on the road in Chicago, distracted or inattentive drivers may not see an e-scooter operator until it is too late. A large portion of e-scooter accidents are actually caused by automobiles striking operators from behind on the road. If you are negligently struck and injured by an automobile driver, that driver’s automobile insurance may cover your injuries for up to the policy limits.
Hit By Municipal Truck
If you are negligently struck by a municipal vehicle or a private company-owned vehicle, you may be able to recover against both the driver and the municipality or company the driver works for. Under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability, an employer is held liable whenever one of its employees negligently causes an injury while acting in the scope of their employment. In this instance, both the driver and the municipality can be held liable for your injuries.
Hit By Biker or Another E-Scooter
These accidents oftentimes occur at intersections and near crosswalks. If you were negligently struck by a biker or another e-scooter, you may be able to recover if the operator has an insurance policy that covers bikes, e-scooters, and other forms of transportation.
Whether coverage exists is highly dependent on the circumstances of the accident and the terms of any insurance policies.
E-Scooter Malfunctions or Suddenly Decelerates
Numerous complaints have arisen in recent years of poor shared e-scooter maintenance, sudden decelerations, and other malfunctions while riders are renting their e-scooters.
Some popular e-scooter companies, including Lime and Bird, have even been the subject of class action complaints about the design, manufacturing, and maintenance defects in their products. In some instances, e-scooters have suddenly decelerated, throwing their operators off the ride platform. In others, electric scooters handlebars have fallen off, causing riders to lose control. Some e-scooters have started fatal housefires.
If you were injured due to a design or manufacturing defect in your shared e-scooter, you may be able to file a direct action against the e-scooter company itself.
E-Scooter Strikes Pothole
If you were injured by striking a pothole on a city road, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and expenses. According to the IIHS, e-scooter riders are twice as likely to be injured because of a pothole than a bicyclist.
The City of Chicago is legally obligated to safely maintain its roadways. That includes properly repairing any dangerous potholes it knew or should have had knowledge of.
If the city failed to maintain its roads and that led to your injuries, you may be able to recover for your damages.
What Should You Do If You Are Involved In an E-Scooter Accident?
If you were injured in any type of e-scooter accident, you should take the following steps:
Seek medical attention immediately – Your health and safety should always be your top priority after any type of accident. Even if you do not believe you were seriously injured, it is always best to err on the side of caution and get checked out by a medical professional. Many times, symptoms of more serious injuries do not present themselves until days or even weeks after the initial accident.
Do not sign anything – The last thing you want to do is sign away your right to seek compensation for your injuries. Many times, insurance companies or e-scooter companies will try to get accident victims to sign a release of liability form. Once you sign that form, you may be barred from seeking further compensation for your injuries, even if it is later determined that your injuries are more serious than initially thought.
Take pictures – If possible, you should take pictures of the scene of the accident, as well as any visible injuries you sustained. These pictures can be very helpful in establishing liability and damages in your case.
Gather information – You should also try to get the contact information for any witnesses to the accident, as well as the driver or operator of the e-scooter. If there is a police report, be sure to get a copy of that as well.
Contact an experienced attorney – An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. If you were injured in an e-scooter accident, contact the attorneys at The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident & Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.
Get Help From The Kryder Law Group, LLC
If you have been injured in a shared e-scooter accident due to an inattentive driver, scooter malfunction, or dangerous road condition, you may be entitled to compensation.
Contact the Kryder Law Group, LLC for a free case evaluation so that you can obtain a favorable settlement for your injuries.