Are We About to Witness a Wave of Electric Scooter Lawsuits?
Electric scooters are popular in major cities across Texas, including Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. Customers of scooter companies like Bird and Lime can use smartphone apps to unlock scooters parked around the city.
Houston may be the next city to experience the electric scooter craze. Here’s why you should not be thrilled about scooters arriving in Houston – recent lawsuits show they may be incredibly unsafe. Eight lawsuits were filed against Bird, Jump and Lime in Austin by plaintiffs who suffered major injuries while using electric scooters made available by the companies.
A few of the lawsuits point to a common issue with Bird, Jump and Lime scooters. All eight cases involve potential defects that caused serious injuries. Here are a few examples of how the plaintiffs suffered injuries:
- One plaintiff is seeking $1 million in damages after a scooter she was riding locked up without warning and threw her against the ground.
- In a second case, the plaintiff hit a pothole in the ground while riding at night because his scooter’s light did adequately illuminate the ground.
- A third plaintiff suffered injuries while jumping off a scooter that could not brake. He suffered a shattered heel bone and is seeking between $200,000 and $1 million in damages.
- In one of the most alarming cases, a plaintiff claims his scooter stopped unexpectedly and threw him in front of a city bus, which ran over his arm and caused major injuries.
Scooter accident lawsuits are still a new type of a case for personal injury attorneys in Texas and across the country. The user agreements required by scooter companies serve only to make things more difficult for injured plaintiffs and their attorneys.
Why the User Agreements for Electric Scooters Are a Nightmare
Scooter companies require you to waive your right to sue in their user agreements. These waivers, are in part, designed to limit their liability from injuries and deaths. The agreements make it far more difficult to pursue a lawsuit against the companies.
Lime, Jump and Bird also have language in their agreements that try to force users to pursue disputes or lawsuits against them in California.
In addition to these issues, the user agreements are complex, full of legalese and essentially impossible to understand for most people. The lawsuits filed in Austin argue the user agreements are “a calculated attempt to trick the injured user into thinking that they can either not sue at all or that it will simply be too much trouble to sue.”
Austin attorney Jim Freeman, who is handling the cases, has more than 20 years of experience as a personal injury lawyer according to his website. He claims it took him 30 minutes to read through Lime’s user agreement. Jim must be a fast reader, because in October of 2018, Lime’s user agreement was 261 cell phone pages – about 18,000 plus words. Imagine how long it would take an 18-year-old college student with a basic education in civics, at best, to read the same agreement.
Can Scooter Users File Successful Lawsuits?
The eight lawsuits filed in Austin are going to be interesting to watch unfold. Why? There are probably many similar accidents occurring across Texas. More lawsuits against Bird, Jump and Lime could be just around the corner.
Daniel Horowitz is a Houston personal injury lawyer with experience handling complex cases against large companies. You can call us with questions about legal options after a scooter accident. We’ll talk to you at no cost. To reach us, call (832) 225-4902 or use our online contact form.