Insurance will always play a huge role in the outcome of a personal injury case. When insurance steps up and covers the costs of an accident, there is usually little reason to file a lawsuit over the incident. When there is no insurance coverage to be found, though, a lawsuit is often necessary for the victims of the accident to fully recover.
When the accident involved an electric scooter (or E-scooter) insurance is far less likely to cover anything. This is why having the legal representation of a personal injury lawyer from the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian can be essential.
Why There are Often Insurance Problems After E-Scooter Accidents
Ten or even five years ago, the idea that E-scooters would be everywhere in an urban environment and that hundreds of people would be using them at any given moment would have seemed absurd. Because no one wanted to ride E-scooters, though, it also meant that many insurance companies did not think about them when they were creating their standard insurance policies.
This presented a serious problem for E-scooters, particularly those that were shared and rented through smartphone apps like Bird and Lime. E-scooters fall between motorcycles and motorized wheelchairs when it comes to engine power, but also are not bikes or skateboards because they have a motor. This means that E-scooters tend to not be explicitly mentioned by most insurance policies. To make matters worse, E-scooters that are rented, rather than owned, create an entirely independent complexity that most insurance policies fail to mention.
Potential Sources of Insurance Coverage
Because most insurance policies – no matter what kind of coverage is provided, be it auto, homeowners, or something else – do not expressly answer the question of whether its coverage applies to E-scooter accidents, numerous different policies might be the source of coverage, but probably will not extend far to cover everything. For example:
- Umbrella liability insurance is the most likely to cover the costs of an E-scooter accident. Umbrella liability insurance is usually an add-on type of coverage that people can purchase that will extend beyond other forms of insurance they carry. While umbrella liability insurance stands the best chance of covering the results of an E-scooter accident, the reality is that very few people carry it because it significantly increases the costs of their insurance premiums.
- Medical insurance will also be a source of insurance coverage, but only for the medical expenses of the insured. It will also have important limitations and deductibles that need to be met before the coverage will provide meaningful assistance. Additionally, medical insurance will not extend to cover the costs of your liability, if you were the one who caused an E-scooter crash.
- Auto insurance is unlikely to cover an E-scooter accident because most standard auto insurance policies are explicitly limited to vehicles that have four wheels. Because E-scooters only have two, auto insurance policies are unlikely to do much in the event of an accident involving E-scooters.
- Homeowner's insurance might extend to an E-scooter accident and provide the liability insurance that medical insurance fails to offer. Homeowner's insurance is typically reserved for your liability to someone else for your negligence stemming from a slip and fall accident on your property. However, when it was your negligence that caused an E-scooter accident, it is not outside the realm of possibility for homeowner's insurance to apply. With that said, though, homeowner's insurance policies often draw the line of their coverage at motor vehicles. Depending on the policy's definition of what constitutes a “motor vehicle,” an E-scooter accident might not be covered.
In the end, the types of insurance that you could count on in an E-scooter accident, like your medical insurance, have huge holes in their coverage. Meanwhile, the insurance policies that might cover your liability are merely long shots.
What About the E-Scooter Sharing Company's Insurance?
Because companies are providing the E-scooter sharing platform and the vehicles, it might be expected that they also provide insurance coverage for accidents that happen while a vehicle is rented. However, companies like Lime and Bird have discovered that people would rather have inexpensive E-scooter rides, and risk paying out a lot of money if something goes wrong, than see the price for a scooter rental go up. Therefore, E-scooter rental companies only carry as much insurance as local cities require them to carry. Where local regulations are silent on the issue – and most of them are before E-scooter sharing lands in their city – that amount of insurance coverage is zero.
Of course, the real losers of this issue are pedestrians. E-scooter sharing companies only have an incentive to protect the people riding their vehicles, not anyone who happens to be in the way of their rider. Even when an E-scooter sharing company's insurance coverage is available, it is often a struggle to make it cover the costs of an E-scooter accident.
Read Your Policy Before Getting on an E-Scooter
Because there is so much uncertainty surrounding whether insurance would cover an E-scooter accident in Philadelphia, the best course of action is to review your auto, homeowners, and medical insurance policies – as well as an umbrella liability insurance policy, if you have one – to make sure there will be coverage for everyone involved in an E-scooter crash before getting on one. Doing so before E-scooters enter Pennsylvania can ensure you know your rights and limitations before even having the opportunity to take a shared E-scooter out for a spin.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian
If you do get hurt on an E-scooter, having the legal representation of the personal injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. Because the law and the insurance obligations surrounding E-scooter accidents are both still in a state of flux, your rights and responsibilities are uncertain, as well. A lawyer can fight for your interests in these uncertain times and make sure your rights are not ignored. Contact the attorneys at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian online.