Many people enjoy riding a scooter or moped as an alternative form of transportation. Scooters are cheaper than a car and get much better gas mileage. They can also be easily parked in small spaces, and bypass cars that are sitting in traffic. This combines to make them a favorite for college students, young people, and people who live in Baltimore or other urban centers. However, scooters provide little protection for riders, and a scooter accident can result in serious injuries.
In order to ride a scooter in Maryland, operators must wear a DOT-compliant motorcycle helmet, and approved eye protection. The helmet is usually the only safety feature scooter riders have that can protect them from a serious head injury. Riding a scooter leaves the rider exposed to injury if they are hit by another car, lose control and crash, or run into a parked car or stationary object. Even with a helmet, scooter accidents can leave the rider with serious injuries.
Causes of Scooter Accidents
There are a number of causes of scooter accidents. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), the most frequent causes of scooter injuries involve collisions at an intersection, excessive speed, rider inexperience, or alcohol. While a scooter rider can be seriously injured in a crash, the most serious accidents involve an accident with a motor vehicle.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a survey of moped accidents found that over 90% of drivers involved in scooter or moped crashes were not insured. Only 17% of riders wore approved helmets. Risk factors that led to increased injury or death included unpaved roads, driving speeds over 20 mph, riding on major roadways, poor lighting conditions, and the use of drugs or alcohol.
Most scooter collisions occur at intersections. Drivers may not see the scooter, or miscalculate their distance or speed. Scooters may also be less stable than cars, and swerving to avoid a road hazard can make the driver lose control and crash. These types of crashes are more likely if the rider is traveling at a high speed, or the roadway is wet.
Scooters suffer from some of the same problems as motorcyclists and cyclists. Drivers of cars, trucks or SUVs are often not watching for scooters. This can be even more dangerous when the driver is speeding, texting, intoxicated, or otherwise distracted. Negligent drivers are responsible for a number of scooter-related injuries and fatal accidents. Any scooter rider can tell you how they are regularly cut off by drivers, with cars turning in front of them, pulling out in front of them, and passing at high speed without any regard for the scooter's safety.
Moped Accident Injuries
By some estimates, almost 20% of moped crashes result in severe or fatal injury. When a scooter crashes, the rider often suffers arm, shoulder, back and leg injuries. They may also get a concussion, even if they are wearing a helmet. Even a slow-speed crash can result in serious cuts, bruises, broken bones, and neck or back injury. When a scooter and motor vehicle collide, the scooter rider may be thrown under the vehicle, and run over or trapped underneath the vehicle. If the rider is thrown from the scooter, they may land right in front of oncoming traffic.
Scooter Injury Lawsuits
A serious scooter accident can result in emergency medical treatment, surgery, require a hospital stay, and include long-term medical treatment. In some cases, the rider may never fully recover from the accident, requiring medical treatment for the rest of their lives. The rider may be left with thousands in medical bills, permanent scarring, lost income, and pain and suffering. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, the injured rider can seek damages from the person responsible for the accident. In some cases, the scooter manufacturer may share some fault in causing the injury because of a scooter defect or malfunction.
Unfortunately, scooter accidents can result in death for the rider. The aggrieved family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent driver, scooter manufacturer, or others who were responsible for their loved one's death. Making them take responsibility can help to ensure that these types of accidents don't happen to others in the future.
Scooter Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in a scooter accident, you should talk to an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney about getting compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. You should not have to suffer due to someone else's negligence. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.