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Who is Liable for Electric Rideshare Scooter Accidents in Maryland?

The phenomenon of electric scooters, or e-scooters, has been sweeping the nation. Companies like Bird have been dropping into major metropolitan cities to expand their electric scooter rideshare programs. In some cases, these companies are opening up operations before states have had time to enact legislation to address the rules and regulations of riding. Maryland is one such state. So, what happens if someone is riding an e-scooter and causes an accident?

What are Scooter Share Programs?

Using an app, individuals can rent a ridesharing scooter, ride to the destination of choice, and then leave it there when it is no longer needed. Then, someone else can pick up the same scooter, enter their information on the app, and then be on their way to wherever they are headed to next.

The problem with these programs is that they arrived in cities seemingly overnight, without any warning. While companies like Bird and Lime claim to comply with local regulations, this type of shared service is new and there were little to no regulations on the books at the time.

Liability with Electric Scooter Accidents

The problem with these services is confusion over what the regulations even are. Should riders be on the sidewalk or just confined to riding on the street? Is there an age restriction on who can rent or ride? What other factors are important to note in regard to both rider and other parties’ safety? To compare, Maryland has a number of laws on the books regarding pedestrians and bicyclists.

The scooters are property of the company that rents them out, and in theory, they generally collect them at night for maintenance and charging. So, what happens if someone is injured due to a mechanical problem with the scooter? You would assume the scooter company would be liable, but most rider agreements state that you must agree with conditions, which have a clause that prohibits you from filing a negligence-based lawsuit. They want to resolve issues through arbitration, which may be unenforceable in some cases.

Pedestrians who are injured by someone riding an electric scooter would not have agreed to any arbitration clause since they were not the ones who rented it. This means that an injured pedestrian could bring a lawsuit against the company, as well as the negligent operator, or any other third party whose actions contributed to the cause of the accident.

Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident caused in part by an electric scooter, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, future medical treatment and loss of earnings, and property damage. In addition, you may be entitled to non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. Because the laws are unclear surrounding electric scooters, and general liability in Maryland can be complex, it is recommended that you speak with a skilled Maryland personal injury attorney right away. At the Law Office of Robert R. Castro, we can help fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today at 301-870-1200 to schedule an initial consultation.

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