As a pedestrian hit by an electric scooter, there are important things you need to know.
First, you are not alone. According to the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), more than 1,000 people went to hospital in 2022 with injuries from e-scooters—an increase of nearly 235%.
Second, the ALA is calling for a review of the regulations concerning electric scooters, especially the insurance cover. This is because the legal recourse for a pedestrian hit by an electric scooter is a grey area. E-scooters are not considered ‘motor vehicles’ by the Transport Accident Commission, meaning people who are injured by an e-scooter are not entitled to the TAC compensation available to those who have been injured by a car, truck, motorbike, etc.
Finally, Henry Carus + Associates have been monitoring the e-scooter trials in Victoria very closely. We are alarmed by the high number of injuries, as well as the ambiguities in insurance cover. Our firm is committed to exploring all legal options for the victims of electric scooter accidents and maximising compensation through all available means.
Henry Carus + Associates can help if you or someone you love was a pedestrian hit by an electric scooter. Call 03 9001 1318 today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers serve clients in all cities in VIC with e-scooter trials (Melbourne, Yarra, Port Phillip, and Ballarat).
Steps a Pedestrian Hit by an Electric Scooter MUST Take
E-scooter riders in Victoria are required to abide by strict trial rules. These include travelling no more than 20 km/h and riding only on shared paths, bike paths, and roads with a speed limit up to 60 km/h. Riding a scooter on footpaths is illegal.
Despite these rules, e-scooters still pose a significant threat to pedestrians. Accidents may occur on shared paths and at pedestrian crossings, as well as when riders illegally travel on footpaths. The elderly and the disabled are particularly at risk.
When a pedestrian is hit by an electric scooter, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Our lawyers recommend taking the following steps:
1. Check Yourself for Injuries
Electric scooters may travel at relatively slow speeds, but 20 km/h is fast enough for pedestrians to suffer severe injuries. Bone fractures, soft tissue damage, and head injuries may occur due to a collision with an e-scooter and/or in a subsequent fall to the ground.
If you are seriously hurt, you should call 000 and wait for help to arrive. You may need to be taken to hospital.
2. Get the Rider’s Information
The same basic principles of exchanging information after a transport accident apply when a pedestrian gets hit by an electric scooter. You will need the following:
- The rider’s name and address
- A phone number and any additional contact information for the rider
- Insurance cover information for the rider (i.e., home and contents insurance) AND the scooter rental company
Collecting this information enables you to identify the rider who hit you and the available insurance cover. This is essential for lodging a claim.
3. Talk to Witnesses
Witness testimony can support your claim if you are injured in an electric scooter accident. Ask witnesses in the vicinity what they saw and get their contact information, too.
4. Photograph the Scene
Take pictures of the damage to the scooter, your injuries, and the surrounding area. Photographs can help establish where and when the accident took place, conditions at the time, and prove the nature and severity of the injuries you suffered.
5. Get Medical Attention
It is in your best interest to see a doctor or, if necessary, go to hospital after leaving the scene of an electric scooter accident. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of your injuries is essential for recovery. It also creates medical records that can substantiate your account of the accident and support your legal claim.
6. Obtain Legal Advice
A pedestrian hit by an electric scooter should absolutely speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. While road accident victims can turn to the TAC for compensation, the legal options available to those injured by e-scooters are much less clear. You need qualified legal representation to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Pedestrian Hit by Electric Scooter: Who Pays?
Melbourne, Port Phillip, and Yarra have extended their e-scooter trials for an additional six months. Ballarat’s trial will run till April 2024. That means pedestrians will continue to be at risk of injury from electric scooters through the summer months.
Getting hurt is bad enough. But loopholes in the insurance cover for e-scooters add insult to injury.
We have seen a number of stories where injured people reported having no options for compensation after an e-scooter accident. Neuron, one of the two companies participating in Victoria’s e-scooter trials, refuses to compensate pedestrians and other third parties if the rider causes injury through unlawful behaviour. (Lime had a similar exclusion for third-party injury claims, but reversed its policy last year.)
Private e-scooter riders must also abide by the trial rules. Unfortunately, there is no requirement for riders to purchase insurance cover for the injuries they may cause.
With all of this in mind, our lawyers have identified three separate legal claims that may be viable for a pedestrian hit by an electric scooter:
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the rider.
- Compensation may be paid by the rider’s home and contents insurance or another policy.
- If the rider doesn’t have the appropriate insurance cover, the rider may be held personally responsible for damages.
- Lodging a claim against the for-hire scooter company’s insurance (Allianz for Lime and Agile Underwriting for Neuron).
- Exceptions and limits may be placed on liability for injury to pedestrians and other third parties.
- Pursuing a public liability claim against a property owner or local council for unsafe conditions on the premises that led to the accident.
A specialist lawyer can review the accident in detail and determine what options you may have for lodging a claim. The process of pursuing compensation through any of these avenues is challenging, making knowledgeable legal guidance essential.
Henry Carus + Associates Can Help
If you are a pedestrian hit by an electric scooter or a member of your family was injured by someone riding an e-scooter, our firm can pursue the full compensation you deserve.