Convenient, lightweight, and inexpensive to use, motorized scooters are a great way to travel short distances without a car. But like any other motorized vehicle, riding a scooter comes with its hazards. Because scooters are not motorcycles, bikes, or cars, it can be difficult to understand what rules of the road apply. And, unclear rules mean a higher probability for a motor scooter accident.
The personal injury and accident attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A. are trial-tested lawyers representing clients throughout the Pensacola region. They have the skill and fortitude to stand up to insurance companies and make sure you are compensated for your injuries.
The Basics of a Motor Scooter
Florida law defines a motorized scooter as a device
- powered by a motor;
- with or without a seat or saddle;
- traveling on less than three wheels;
- at speeds of less than 20 miles per hour.
This definition includes most of the rentable electric scooters available, such as Bird, Lime, Razor, and Lyft. The definition excludes electric bikes.
Recovery for a Motor Scooter Accident
Accidents are almost always caused by the negligence of one party or another. In Florida, injured parties are compensated for accidents under the legal theory of negligence. A legal negligence case requires filing a lawsuit against the negligent party. Many negligence cases are settled out of court. However, you may still need to file a lawsuit to force the negligent party and/or his or her insurance company to participate in settlement negotiations.
What is Negligence?
Lawsuits under the theory of negligence involve a person’s failure to use proper precautions or care that injures another person when there was a duty to act carefully. To recover for injuries sustained in a motor scooter accident, the plaintiff must show the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to act reasonably safely toward him or her under the circumstances. The plaintiff must also show that the defendant failed to live up to that duty, that the defendant’s failure caused the plaintiff’s injury, and that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
Limitations on Negligence
Florida also follows a legal theory called comparative negligence when applying negligence to any case. Comparative negligence is a concept that means if a plaintiff is at all responsible for any portion of his or her injuries, damages may be reduced by the percentage of fault falling on the plaintiff. For example, if an accident might have been avoided if a plaintiff had stopped at a stop sign, damages may be reduced by a percentage amount appropriately corresponding to the plaintiff’s level of fault.
How an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Figuring Out the Law on Using a Scooter
Where a rider can ride a scooter varies based on the city. In Pensacola, motor scooters may be ridden on sidewalks at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, except in certain areas. Riders must follow traffic laws applied to bicycles. However, in Miami, riders may only travel at up to 7 miles per hour on sidewalks and up to 15 miles per hour in designated bike lanes.
It is essential to know if a scooter rider was following all traffic laws to determine which party caused the accident, as comparative negligence may limit a plaintiff’s recovery. An experienced attorney can figure out what laws apply depending on where a scooter accident occurred.
Figuring Out Damages
It can be difficult to determine how long and how much it will cost to get you back to normal after an accident. It can be challenging to determine how long you will need medical treatment, how much time you’ll have to take off from work, and if you will ever truly get back to normal after an accident.
Because they deal with these questions regularly, personal injury attorneys can help assess what it will cost to make you whole again. You only have one opportunity to seek compensation for your damages, and an experienced attorney can help make sure you are treated fairly.
Dealing with Insurance
In Florida, a scooter rider is not required to carry personal injury insurance. However, if the accident involves a motor vehicle, the driver’s insurance company may have to cover your injuries.
Dealing with insurance companies can get complicated. Insurance companies are businesses looking to maximize profits. It is not in their interest to pay out massive claims. For this reason, many insurance companies promise quick settlements and attempt to pay out as little as possible. However, a quick payout is rarely enough to fully compensate you for your injuries. Anytime you receive a settlement offer, you should discuss the settlement with an experienced attorney to determine whether accepting the settlement is in your best interest.
Contact Florida Personal Injury Attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A.
Motor scooters are fun and convenient, but they can also be dangerous. An accident with a speeding hunk of metal like a car can be catastrophic to an unprotected scooter rider. If you are in an accident while riding a motor scooter, contact the personal injury and accident attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A., to discuss your injuries. Our Pensacola based attorneys have the skills and experience to evaluate your damages and access your claims with no upfront cost.