E-Scooter Accidents. Who Is To Blame?13th Jan 2021
Rise Of The E-Scooter (For Hire)
New e-scooters for hire are about to hit the streets of Bournemouth and Poole. But what if one of them hits you? (Or you’re on an e-scooter hit by another vehicle?)
It is still illegal to operate a privately owned e-scooter on a public road, cycle lane, pavement or in a pedestrian-only area. However, since 4 July 2020 e-scooters have been legal in some areas – but only if you hire them through an approved scheme.
Now the Department for Transport (DfT) has given BCP Council permission to trial a rental scheme – enabling hired e-scooters to be operated legally in Bournemouth and Poole. (Similar e-scooter pilots are already running in Norwich, Milton Keynes and on the Isle of Wight. Other areas eligible for trials include Northampton.)
What If I’m Hit By A Rented E-Scooter?
Take legal action if you’re injured. Whom you sue will depend on whether the e-scooter was being ridden legally or not.
Bournemouth’s controlled trial scheme will go live on 25 January 2021. If you’re hit by one of the rented e-scooters then you can sue the rider. To have hired the e-scooter, the rider must have a valid driving licence (which will first need to be verified via app). The hire agreement provides the user with insurance.
It is important to note that – when the scheme goes live – hired e-scooters can be ridden on:
- all existing public roads in Bournemouth and Poole
- signed cycle lanes
- cycle/shared-use facilities.
But they cannot be used legally on pavements for pedestrians.
What If The E-Scooter Is Privately Owned?
You’ll have seen e-scooters zipping around the streets for quite some time now…with riders in blissful ignorance or flagrant defiance of laws that have failed to keep pace with technology.
Unfortunately, this was inevitable. No-one is going to spend hundreds of pounds on an e-scooter just to ride it up and down their driveway.
So whom do you sue if the e-scooter that hits you isn’t a council-sanctioned machine? How do you go about claiming compensation?
We can help you to claim. The first target would be the rider’s home contents insurance provider. Under that policy, they’re likely to be insured for activities away from the family home. And if the user is a child, then we can take legal action against their parents’ home contents insurer.
What if the user is uninsured? Or if their insurer says illegal use of an e-scooter invalidates the policy and refuses to pay? In that instance, you can still claim against the rider personally, against the value of any property they may have. But you (or we) would have to ensure they have sufficient assets to make litigation worthwhile.
Get Eye-Witness Video Or Testimony!
Whatever the circumstances, in any accident, it is vitally important to get the details of:
- the other person involved
- any passers-by who can support your case with eye-witness testament or mobile phone/dashcam video footage.
That may not always be possible. Especially if you’ve been badly injured or shaken up and the rider scoots off without stopping.
In that case, we may be able to obtain CCTV footage on your behalf if the accident took place in a secure and well-lit public area. But never assume there will always be CCTV: there may not be – or it may not be working. Or the images could be grainy and fail to identify the rider who hit you.
So always get help from eye-witnesses if you can. And write down everything you can about the accident as soon as possible after it has happened, while your memory is still fresh.
Am I Automatically In The Right If I’m Hit By An Illegally Ridden E-Scooter?
Sadly not. This is one of those occasions where the law does not always reflect what you might expect. Let me illustrate this with an example…
Let’s imagine that you’re looking at your mobile phone while walking along the pavement. Suddenly you’re hit by an e-scooter being ridden illegally. Logically, you might assume that the fault is 100% theirs: had they not been there (illegally), they would not have hit you!
Alas, if only the law were that simple. In any dispute over an accident, the judge may rule that both parties involved could be to blame. They may decide that blame is 50/50, 60/40, 70/30, 80/20 and so on.
So you have to ensure that you’re blameless for what has happened. A lesser degree of culpability may not stop you from claiming…but it could reduce the damages you receive either in an agreed settlement or as an award from the court.
So never admit any liability – either at the scene or later on.
Get Expert Legal Advice
Have you been hit and injured by an e-scooter in an accident that wasn’t your fault? Or are you an e-scooter rider who is the victim of an injury accident?
If you wish to claim compensation (No Win No Fee), you’ll need to do so as soon as possible because there’s a three-year time limit on most personal injury claims.