TAMPA BAY ELECTRIC SCOOTER ACCIDENT LAWYER
Electric scooters and bicycles have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their convenience and eco-friendliness. Their compact size, ease of use, and affordability have made them a common choice for transportation in Tampa Bay. Shared scooter programs have been popping up throughout Florida. HOPR, Bird, and Lime are widely available throughout Tampa Bay. However, like pedestrians, motorized scooters and bicycle riders are at significant risk for severe injuries. Riders hit by a motor vehicle can suffer life-threatening injuries. Contact Weber Law Firm to speak to a Tampa Bay Electric Scooter Accident Lawyer.
“Motorized Scooters” & “Electric Bikes”
Defined for Purposes of Chapter 316, Florida Statutes
Electric scooters and bicycles are popular not only because of convenience but also because of affordability. Florida does not require riders to carry insurance on their electric scooters or bicycles, which presents significant savings for many by replacing the need for a personal automobile. Whether riders must have a valid driver’s license has been an area of confusion. Governor Ron DeSantis, signed 2019 HB 453: Micromobility Devices and it became effective on June 18, 2019. This bill amended 316.2128, Florida Statutes. It added a provision that states, “A person is not required to have a driver’s license to operate a motorized scooter or micro-mobility device.”
Electric scooters and electric bicycles are defined under Chapter 316, contained in Section 316.003, Florida Statutes:
“MOTORIZED SCOOTER.—Any vehicle or micromobility device that is powered by a motor with or without a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, which is designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and which is not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 20 miles per hour on level ground. The term does not include an electric bicycle.”
“ELECTRIC BICYCLE.—A bicycle or tricycle equipped with fully operable pedals, a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and an electric motor of less than 750 watts which meets the requirements of one of the following three classifications:
(a) “Class 1 electric bicycle” means an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the electric bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
(b) “Class 2 electric bicycle” means an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the electric bicycle and that ceases to provide assistance when the electric bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
(c) “Class 3 electric bicycle” means an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the electric bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.”
Increase in Accidents and Safety Concerns for Scooter Riders
The surge in scooter usage has led to an increase in accidents and safety concerns. Riders and pedestrians are at risk for collisions between scooters, motor vehicles, or pedestrians. According to data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the number of accidents involving motorized scooters has risen steadily over the past few years. The Florida Traffic Crash Statistics Report revealed a significant increase in e-scooter accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Many factors contribute to these accidents, such as:
- Reckless riding.
- Riders not wearing helmets.
- Impaired visibility.
- Lack of experience.
- Motorists or pedestrians unfamiliar with how to react to oncoming scooters.
Recovering Damages After a Scooter Accident in Tampa Bay
Were you or a loved one involved in a scooter accident in Tampa Bay? Contact Weber Law Firm today so we can begin working on your claim. You can pursue the at-fault party’s insurance for your damages and seek recovery of the following economic and non-economic damages in your personal injury action:
Weber Law Firm will assist you with your property damage claim. Your e-scooter may be repairable or could be a total loss. You deserve compensation for the fair market value and any personal property damaged. Weber Law Firm will guide you through the property damage claims process.
Medical Expenses After a Tampa Bay Scooter Accident
Medical expenses can add up quickly. An ambulance ride to the emergency room and diagnostic costs can be expensive. The type of medical treatment you need will depend on the severity of your injuries. These medical expenses you incur for any treatment received after a scooter accident will become a part of your economic damages. For example, medical expenses may include:
- Chiropractic Care
- Orthopedic Surgeons
- Physical Therapy
- Medical Devices
- Mileage to and from your doctor’s appointment
Also, you may be able to recover your anticipated future medical expenses. These are expenses you can reasonably anticipate over your lifetime. Scooter accidents can result in permanent injuries that require ongoing treatment indefinitely, such as long-term nursing care or additional surgical procedures.
Lost Income After a Tampa Bay Scooter Accident
Lost income damages include earnings you lost while you were out of work because of your injuries after the scooter accident, as well as your future earnings.
Non-Economic Damages After a Tampa Bay Scooter Accident
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that can be challenging to quantify because they are subjective. Unlike economic damages, there are no receipts or medical bills to calculate non-economic damages.
The following are some examples of non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Loss of consortium (companionship, sexual relationship with your spouse); and
- Loss of use of a limb.
Pain and suffering damages can be both physical and emotional. Physical pain and suffering involve damage to your body, such as your injuries, scarring, disfigurement, and the painful procedures you subjected yourself to in an attempt to get better. Emotional pain and suffering may impact you in a variety of ways. After a scooter accident, you may suffer from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium or affection, nightmares, or inability to sleep.
It is very common for people to realize the emotional impact of a scooter accident. Scooter accident victims often fear driving or refuse to ride a scooter again. They’re also more alert of the vehicles around them, anxious and fearful that every vehicle approaching them is going to make an impact. Others often have difficulty sleeping because they find themselves reliving the accident and the aftermath.
Will Your Personal Injury Protection Benefits “PIP Benefits” Apply in a Scooter Accident?
Your PIP benefits under your auto insurance policy pay for up to the first $10,000 of your accident-related medical treatment. Whether your PIP benefits will extend to cover your medical expenses after a scooter accident depends on your policy’s language. Most auto insurance policies exclude coverage for scooters. However, in Florida, a court recently ruled that a moped was not a motorized vehicle. The court granted PIP coverage and treated the moped occupant like a pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle.
Will Your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) Coverage Apply in a Scooter Accident?
Whether your UM coverage will extend to your scooter accident will depend on the language of your auto insurance policy. UM, coverage should extend to the operator of a motorized scooter. However, most insurance policies have explicit exclusions. An experienced scooter accident attorney would need to thoroughly review your auto insurance policy and recent case law.
If you were driving a motor vehicle and struck by someone on a motorized scooter, your UM coverage would extend for your loss and injuries.
Seeking Recovery for the At-Fault Party’s Auto Insurance After a Tampa Bay Scooter Accident
After an electric scooter accident in Tampa Bay, it will be important to determine all coverage available through the at-fault party. An experienced scooter accident attorney can try to identify all applicable insurance policies to determine the amount of bodily injury (BI) liability coverage available for your loss.
Contact Weber Law Firm Today To Go Over Your Legal Options
Attorney Lauren N. Weber is an experienced Tampa Bay personal injury lawyer who can help you go after the compensation you deserve.