E-scooters and personal injury claims: Know your rights

E-scooters are predicted to be involved in up to 200,000 accidents by the end of the year, according to research by dashcam company Nextbase. With the potential to cause serious injuries, it’s important to know what your rights are if you are involved in an e-scooter related accident, according to Lisa Preece, partner and solicitor specialising in personal injury at Nelsons.

Although they provide a number of benefits, such as offering a cleaner, lower carbon alternative to motor vehicles, there’s been a continued increase in the number of personal injury claims arising since e-scooters were introduced – including several serious incidents that have resulted in catastrophic injuries and even fatalities.

Whether you’re a pedestrian, e-scooter rider or motorist, it’s important to know the facts, your rights and under what circumstances you would need to obtain specialist legal advice in the event of an incident.

Under current law, it is illegal to ride a privately-owned e-scooter on public roads, cycle lanes and pavements. The only e-scooters that are exempt to this rule are those currently available to rent in certain boroughs of London and some other parts of the UK, including Nottingham, as part of an approved government trial.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that a full or provisional driving licence is required to use an e-scooter and that privately-owned ones are classed as ‘powered transporters’. This means they should abide by the same laws and regulations that apply to motor vehicles, such as insurance, tax, MOT, licence and registration.

When can I make a claim for compensation for an e-scooter related injury?

There are several circumstances where you are likely to have grounds for a claim relating to e-scooter injuries, including:

  • If you’ve been injured by a motor vehicle while riding an e-scooter and the person at fault for the incident is the vehicle driver;
  • If you’ve been injured by an e-scooter as a pedestrian that was rented as part of the government-backed trials. The company that rents out the e-scooter should have insurance in place already, which makes pursuing a claim easier; or,
  • If you’ve been injured by a privately-owned e-scooter. It’s unlikely the owner will be insured, as riding a privately-owned e-scooter on public roads is illegal. However, fortunately, as things currently stand, if you are injured by a privately-owned e-scooter, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) may be able to help you recover compensation.

What can I do if I’ve been in an accident involving an e-scooter?

As with any kind of motor accident, there are certain things you can do at the time to ensure you have everything you need should you need to make a claim.

  • Take photographs of the accident, including what caused the accident and damage to any vehicle involved;
  • Obtain details of the person riding the scooter and any witnesses to the accident, including their names, addresses and telephone numbers; and,
  • Contact the police and report the accident as soon as possible.

Crucially, you should get specialist advice at the outset. From the date of the accident, you have three years to issue court proceedings for a claim and, if you miss this window, it’s unlikely you will be able to make a claim as there are only very limited circumstances when the courts will allow this.

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