Personal Injury Action
Under the law, people that suffer harm may be able to recover compensation if that harm was caused by another. Overall, in order to successfully recover, a person must identify which legal cause(s) of action apply to their claim. A “case of action” is a set of facts that, when taken together, gives the right and ability to sue to obtain compensation against the person who caused the harm. Legal recovery for personal injury arising out of e-scooter use generally involves three different, but related, causes of action: negligence, premises liability and products liability.
For a brief summary of these differences, a negligence action is based on the actions or omissions of a person that result in injury to another. In essence, everyone owes a duty to act with reasonable care to the people around them. When a person acts below this standard of reasonable care and an injury occurs due to this failure, the person is negligent and can be held civilly liable for those harms. With regard to e-scooters, negligence may be present in many situations, including e-scooter - motor vehicle impacts, e-scooter – bicycle impacts, and e-scooter crashes due to pedestrian activities, to name a few.
For example, say a person is operating an e-scooter in the right hand lane of a roadway. The driver of a nearby motor vehicle fails to check for the presence of others and changes lanes, striking the e-scooter rider. Because the driver did not abide by traffic laws and acted in an unsafe manner, they would most likely be considered negligent and liable for the e-scooter rider’s injuries.
Next, premises liability can be recognized if a condition on physical property causes the injury. This action can be brought against a private or public property owner, and broadly requires that the physical condition be dangerous, that the property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition, and that the owner failed to warn people of, or take steps to, mitigate this condition. Situations that may allow for a dangerous condition action include unfilled pot holes, tree roots impairing ingress and egress, and other physical defects that interfere with the safe operation of an e-scooter.
For instance, if a person is riding an e-scooter on a roadway, hits a large crack in the asphalt and loses control of the scooter due to the uneven road surface, this may support a premises liability action.
Lastly, products liability allows for recovery of harm caused by a defect in the product itself. To successfully recover for a products liability claim the injured party (also known as the plaintiff) must show that the responsible party (defendant) designed, manufactured, distributed or sold a product that was defective; that the product contained the defect when it left the defendant’s possession; that the plaintiff used the product in a reasonably foreseeable manner; and that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by this defect.
An example of this type of claim would be if a person riding an e-scooter experienced motor system failure and was thrown from the vehicle due to the sudden stop. The resultant harms arising from the failure of the motor may be recoverable in a products liability action. Thus, e-scooter accidents that support a products liability claim usually arise out of some defect in the e-scooter that causes harm. This defect is often found in the mechanism of the e-scooter, including brake system failure, issues with wheels, or improper clipping apparatus.
Preservation of Evidence
Generally, the person asserting the claim (plaintiff) has the burden of proving that the facts support their cause of action and, by extension, that they have the right to recover for their harms against the party at fault (defendant). In order to meet this burden, evidence must be presented to meet this burden. Therefore, after an accident, it is important to remember that preserving as much evidence as possible is often crucial to the future success of your claim.
With regard to e-scooter incidents, preservation of evidence often includes taking photographs directly after the accident, or as soon as possible thereafter, of the location where the accident occurred, bodily injuries, property damage, and any other harms arising out of the accident. Additionally, it is often important to obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses to the incident, to preserve any related documentation and to compile any other evidence arising out of the incident at issue.
Importance of Taking Action
If you have been injured in an e-scooter accident, you may have a potential personal injury action. It is important to understand that the law imposes limitations on your ability to bring these claims. One of these is the statute of limitations. This statute controls how much time a person can wait before bringing a personal injury case.
A general rule for the statute of limitations in California allows for a personal injury action to be brought two years from the date of injury, however there are various situations that require a claim be brought within a shorter amount of time. For instance, an action against a public entity may require the claim to be brought within 6 months after the injury. Speaking with an attorney quickly can be very important to preserving your ability to bring a claim. Our team of experienced personal injury trial attorneys and investigators are here to sensitively guide and fight for you through this complicated legal process in a strategic and professional manner. Our firm offers free consultations to help you understand your rights.
 California Code of Civ. Proc. Sec. 340
 California Gov’t Code Sec. 911.2(a)
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