Bird Scooter Injury in Louisville, Kentucky

Bird Scooter Injury in Louisville, Kentucky

In places like Miami, LA, and Austin scooters are everywhere.  I’ve seen Lime and Bird Scooters in Louisville for the past year and a half.  Now that it is summer there seem to be more and more.  I knew it was only a matter of time until someone called me with a scooter related injury.

That call came last week.  The potential client was driving a Lime Scooter in Louisville at night.  He went over a pothole that he didn’t see, broke a bunch of his front teeth, and tore up his face pretty good.

Legal Status on Scooters

The first question I had concerned his legal status.  Status is important in determining what kind of insurance coverage is available.

Pedestrian v. Non-Pedestrian.  What am I Considered on a Scooter?

Pursuant to Kentucky Law a person driving a vehicle with a less than a 49cc motor is a pedestrian in the eyes of the law.  When a pedestrian is hit by another vehicle they can make a claim for personal injury protection benefits (to help pay medical and lost wages) and also for bodily injury (pain and suffering) against the at fault driver.

If your scooter or motorcycle has more than 49cc’s you are responsible for purchasing insurance on the vehicle.  This means that you can still make a claim for bodily injury if hit by another vehicle, but you do not have personal injury protection claim arising from the vehicle that hit you.

The potential client in this circumstance won’t get personal injury protection or bodily injury.  His vehicle was electric and there is no third party at fault driver to sue (suing the city for the pothole is a separate discussion). In the end, what this means is that anyone driving a Bird, Lime, or other scooter is a pedestrian for legal purposes.

Liability Against Scooter Company

The next question I had was about fault.

Lime Scooter website lists rules for riding:

1- Always follow helmet laws

2- Park properly by curbside

3- Do a pre-ride safety check

4- Apply brakes to slow down or stop

5- Be mindful of road obstructions

6- Always follow traffic laws

Number 5 is the most relevant to this situation.  Anyone that has driven in Louisville knows we have a lot of potholes.  In this situation I believe the potential client that he didn’t see the pothole.  The problem is that it was night and by “choosing to ride a Vehicle, Rider assumes all responsibilities and risks for any injuries or medical conditions.”  With that I don’t think it makes sense to sue Lime under this factual scenario.  If there was something defective about the scooter that would be a separate issue

Liability Against Third Party Driver

This DOES NOT mean that the rider assumes the risk of other driver’s being negligent.  If a scooter driver is hit by a car, motorcycle, truck, or even another scooter I would handle the case.  It would be treated as a pedestrian case and potentially have significant value depending on the injuries.

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