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L.A. Doctors and Emergency Rooms Treating More E-Scooter Accident Victims, Severe Injuries

electric scooter

Physicians and emergency rooms across the country are seeing an increase in patients with serious injuries caused by electric scooter accidents. In Los Angeles, where rental e-scooters from companies like Bird, Lime, Skip, and other scooter startups have appeared in increasing numbers, scooter accidents have increased dramatically. Despite the rise in wrecks, scooter companies are still striking profits, and advocates are still pushing for better safety regulations.

While most cities have yet to publish statistics on the scope of scooter accidents, local health care providers are noting a clear increase in the number of patients they treat for injuries sustained in incidents involving sharable e-scooters. For example:

  • Emergency room physicians at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center have been treating more patients with scooter-related injuries over the past year. Since e-scooters arrived in the Westwood / UCLA area in January, they’ve also seen an increase in more severe injuries. From the beginning of June to mid-November alone, the ER department recorded more than 200 scooter-related injuries.
  • At UCLA’s Nethercutt Emergency Center, providers have also seen a large number of patients injured in scooter accidents. Many of those injuries, they say, more closely resemble those associated with car accident victims.

The trend isn’t just localized to L.A., either. In St. Louis, where several Washington University professors have encouraged the city’s Mayor to launch a scooter task force of physicians, police, and public health officials, local doctors confirmed that between August 6 and October 20, nearly 70 patients were treated for scooter injuries in emergency departments alone. Those types of numbers are a significant concern, but they don’t seem to be sparking the types of responses advocates believe are badly needed.

Serious Injuries, Needed Safety Regulations

One of the most glaring concerns doctors have when it comes to scooter accidents are the types of injuries victims are suffering. While some accidents may involve minor injuries like scrapes or sprains, many others are suffering severe injuries that are more commonly associated with car and motorcycle accidents, including:

While injury severity ranges from case to case, doctors note that many patients face significant pain and suffering, what can be extensive medical bills for surgical or dental procedures, and sometimes long-term challenges, including those created by brain injuries and post-concussive syndrome. Physicians also say speed has the largest impact on scooter injuries.

Many of the sharable e-scooters available throughout the Los Angeles area are powered by small motors which can allow riders to zip through public roads and side-streets at speeds upwards of 15 mph. That acceleration can create an amount of energy and force that makes a smaller 5-6 foot fall more like a fall from 20 feet or higher.

In an attempt to address some these and other risks, the L.A. City County voted in September to approve several regulations that specifically target e-scooters – including a 15 mph speed limit, rules to prevent riders from operating on walkways, and minimum commercial insurance coverage requirements for companies. However, a new California law signed by Governor Jerry Brown taking effect in January will repeal helmet requirements for electric scooter riders 18 years of age or older, putting the responsibility of passing and enforcing helmet laws on local cities. Under the recent City Council measure, scooter companies will be required to notify riders of applicable helmet laws based on their location.

As many advocates note, the responsibility of safety may ultimately rest on e-scooter companies themselves. Amid their rapid growth and expansion, many of these companies and startups have failed to adequately address safety issues concerning not only riders, but also pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and others with whom they share the road. That’s caused some companies to face lawsuits filed by injured victims, including a class-action lawsuit in Los Angeles that accused scooter startups of gross negligence, as well as aiding and abetting assault. Plaintiffs in the case claim the companies should have known their products posed significant safety risks and dangers of public nuisances, and taken more decisive steps to address them.

Still, safety supporters are hopeful that with greater awareness and more collaboration between scooter companies, health care providers, and local municipalities and lawmakers, the tide of rising scooter accidents and injuries can be stemmed.

Injured in a Scooter Accident? Biren Law Group Can Help.

Biren Law Group is comprised of award-winning personal injury attorneys who have spent decades fighting on behalf of injured victims and families throughout Los Angeles and Southern California. Over the years, our legal team has seen how new technologies and trends can lead to safety risks and serious injuries, and how corporations often fail to meet their obligations for keeping customers and the public safe.

Whether you or someone you love has been injured in a preventable electric scooter accident as a rider, pedestrian, cyclists, or vehicle occupant, our lawyers are available to review your case and explain your rights and options for seeking compensation through the personal injury claim process. Call (310) 896-4345 to learn how we can help. Consultations are free and confidential.