Accidents involving electric scooters have become increasingly problematic in Los Angeles. Emergency rooms across the area have reported that they’re treating more scooter accident victims than ever before. Many victims are blaming the electric scooter companies for providing unsafe and unreliable equipment. Two electric scooter companies – Bird and Lime – are now being asked to take responsibility for injuries their devices have caused. A class action lawsuit has been filed against the companies in Los Angeles.
What is a Class Action Lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit is filed by attorneys on behalf of a “class” of victims. These victims generally suffer substantially similar injuries or are injured for the same reason. Rather than pursuing compensation through individual lawsuits, the victims band together and file one major lawsuit as a group.
The class-action lawsuit against Bird and Lime has been filed on behalf of victims who were injured because of electric scooters provided by those companies. Causes of scooter-related injuries these victims have suffered include:
- Tripping over scooters left in pedestrian walkways
- Being struck by an electric scooter while walking
- Property damage caused by an electric scooter
- Scooters blocking access to handicap parking spaces, and
- Accidents involving defects or problems with the vehicles.
If the lawsuit is successful, the victims will each receive a share of the financial settlement or award.
Why would scooter accident victims want to join a class action rather than pursue a claim on their own? Companies like Bird and Lime have a lot of resources at their disposal. It may be difficult for one victim to recover meaningful compensation. Class actions, on the other hand, can allow victims to join their resources and strengths. It can be easier to make a lot of noise and draw attention to a problem with a class action.
Why Are Bird and Lime Being Sued?
The Bird and Lime class action lawsuit involves many different legal claims.
One of the most notable claims involves an issue of product liability. Attorneys for the victims allege that the companies provided customers with recreational scooters for a commercial purpose. These scooters aren’t designed to withstand the daily use and abuse that they sustain. The lawsuit argues that the companies should be held responsible for knowingly providing a product that is not safe or intended for commercial purposes.
The lawsuit also claims that Bird and Lime should be held responsible for injuries because they failed to provide proper safety equipment and instructions. Since the company rents these scooters to anyone with a driver’s license, the company has obligations to (a) provide safety equipment and (b) warn of known risks and dangers.
In California, companies that design, manufacture, and sell products have an obligation to make sure those products are safe. If someone is injured because of a defect in the product or because they weren’t warned of the risks, the company behind that product can be held financially responsible. Here, the scooter accident victims are placing the blame for their injuries with the companies that put those scooters on the market. They’re claiming problems with the scooters – and a lack of safety warnings – are the cause of their injuries.
Aiding and Abetting Assault
The class action also accuses Bird and Lime of being “grossly negligent” and “aiding and abetting assault.” The lawsuit alleges that the company’s failure to address the “terrible injuries they have inflicted on their riders and pedestrians, and the continuing harm they are causing” is unacceptable. This failure increases the risk of serious accidents across the city.
The lawsuit also argues that Bird and Lime scooters are a public nuisance. A public nuisance exists when someone does something (or fails to do something) that creates a condition that’s harmful, annoying, or offensive. Since there are no central docking stations, scooters can be left anywhere at any time. This creates a public hazard for anyone trying to make their way down a road, sidewalk, boardwalk, or parking lot.
What Can the Class Action Victims Recover?
The class-action lawsuit filed against Bird and Lime doesn’t specify the damages the eight victims would like to recover. However, the victims are likely interested in both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate for financial costs and consequences of an accident. This can include medical bills, lost wages, disability, property damage, and rehabilitation. Non-economic damages compensate for injuries that are difficult to value in terms of money. This can include chronic pain, emotional distress, disfigurement, and embarrassment.
The victims may not have stated their specified damages if the extent and impact of their injuries are still being evaluated. They may be open to negotiating a settlement that allows each plaintiff to recover a reasonable amount of money.
Have you been involved in a Los Angeles electric scooter accident? You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers to learn about the benefits of a personal injury claim. We’ll review your case and help you identify the best strategies for recovery.