E-Scooter Lawsuits in Ohio
You may have noticed them. They are everywhere: People zipping by on small, unwieldy devices at speeds approaching 20 mph, causing accidents and injuring themselves. E-scooters are flooding the streets of Dayton, Cleveland, and cities all across Ohio. Scooter rental service Spin began operating in Dayton in August 2019, and companies Bird and Lime have expressed interest as well.
If you have ever ridden a rented e-scooter, then you know that the first thing you have to do is agree to the terms of service. You probably have not read this disclosure thoroughly, so you have no idea what it is that you are signing away. There are a couple of things. First, you are signing away your right to have a potential lawsuit heard by a judge and jury. If you have any dispute with the e-scooter vendor, the dispute will be heard by an arbitrator. Second, if there is ever a class action against the e-scooter company, you would be prohibited from joining it.
There is more. If your information is stolen from the e-scooter or hacked, the e-scooter company forces you to agree to waive liability. If you injure someone while you are on one of the company scooters and the injured person files a lawsuit against the e-scooter company, the e-scooter company can sue you vis a vis an indemnity clause in your terms of service. If you are not into those terms, but still like riding e-scooters, your best bet is to purchase one yourself. You are on much clearer legal footing there.
E-Scooters and Local Laws
Each city has its own laws that govern e-scooters. While most of the injuries that occur are due to operator error of some kind, the rental company may still be liable if their e-scooter was defective and caused an injury. The legislation is part of an overall compromise with the e-scooter companies that allows the companies to profit off of access to their scooters. However, these scooters created such a large disruption when they were first introduced in San Francisco that residents clamored to have them banned outright. They lost that fight, but several restrictions were imposed that are now forming the basis for legislation across the U.S.
In Cleveland, there are restrictions on where you can ride a scooter. They cannot be ridden on sidewalks in business districts, and they cannot be ridden on roads where the speed limit is 35 mph or above. Additionally, the scooters cannot be ridden over 12 mph.
Other cities will accommodate the e-scooter craze by addressing their individual needs. Cleveland is not a city that avails itself well to e-scooters. Less densely populated cities may need to address other concerns.
If you are injured on an e-scooter and it was caused by a malfunction in the scooter, you still can file a claim against the company that rented you the scooter. Lafferty, Gallagher, & Scott can help you file that claim and get the evidence you need to prove it was a malfunctioning or defective scooter that caused your injuries. Talk to us today for a free consultation.