Until now, Tampa has managed to avoid the electric scooter craze that has caused accidents and controversy in streets throughout the United States. But that’s about to change in April 2019, as Tampa city officials jump into a pilot program that could put as many as 1,800 scooters on the streets. Tampa officials say they plan to approve the public scooter program in a 12-square mile area downtown and south of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Residents and even public officials have mixed feelings about the project. Supporters say that scooters are a good, green way to move people throughout the city. Opponents and Tampa personal injury lawyers say that scooters increase accidents and cause serious injuries. Injuries that have resulted from the nationwide scooter craze have prompted the Center for Disease Control to study how officials can make operations safer for all involved.
Legal Liability for Tampa Scooter Accidents
Even though scooters are legal under Tampa’s scooter pilot program, the standards of legal tort liability still apply to individuals who choose to operate scooters. A scooter operator may be legally responsible if their poor conduct leads to an accident. There are several ways that a scooter operator may have legal liability for contributing to a scooter accident:
- Operating too fast
- Using the scooter with too many people around
- Failing to yield for pedestrians
- Not observing traffic signals when crossing the street
- Operating on a public road against regulations
- Leaving the scooter in an inappropriate place where someone may trip on it like a sidewalk or wheelchair ramp
- Trying reckless tricks
- Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
No matter how the accident occurs, if the scooter operator causes the accident by failing to act how an ordinary, reasonable person would act, the scooter operator may be liable for the accident.
Our Tampa Scooter Accident Attorneys
If you’ve been hurt in a scooter accident, our Tampa scooter accident attorneys can help you take the necessary steps to claim compensation. Too often, what’s meant to be a fun activity or even a smart way to commute can turn into serious injuries. When you’re hurt in a scooter accident, you need help now. Our injury attorneys in Tampa can help.
Can I Bring a Lawsuit After a Scooter Accident in Tampa?
Yes, you can bring a lawsuit after a scooter accident in Tampa if the accident occurs because another person or party acts negligently, recklessly or intentionally to cause the accident. When you’re riding the scooter or if you’re a pedestrian, it’s the person who causes the accident that pays for the damage under Florida law. Your attorney can help you take the necessary steps to assert your claim and receive compensation.
What Are the Scooter Laws in Tampa?
The word scooter has multiple meanings in Florida. There are a lot of things that people think of when they talk about scooters. Florida law treats each type of scooter differently. For example, stand-up scooters with no seat and two or three wheels are what Florida calls scooters under the law. Florida law 316.003(82) defines these types of scooters. Florida law prohibits the operation of scooters on roads and sidewalks unless there’s a local ordinance that expressly allows it.
Other, larger scooters are classified as mopeds and motorcycles under Florida law. Mopeds and motorcycles are street legal and require title and registration. Although insurance isn’t required, motorcycle and moped drivers who choose not to purchase insurance are left without no-fault protections when accidents occur. If you own a moped or motorcycle, your best option is to buy insurance. You may be able to purchase it along with coverage for your passenger vehicle.
Products Liability Claims and Defective Scooters
Sometimes, an accident may be the fault of a defective scooter. A scooter may have a bad design, or a single scooter may have a production defect. Even failing to give scooter operators enough instructions to use the scooters properly may make the scooter defective. If a scooter is defective for some reason, the scooter manufacturer may be liable.
When the scooter manufacturer creates a defective product, and an accident occurs, the scooter manufacturer has strict liability for the damages that result. In fact, providing adequate instructions for public use of scooters may prove to be a challenge for scooter manufacturers. Products liability laws can be a welcome relief for people who are victims of scooter accidents in the Tampa area.
When you’re in a scooter accident, your Tampa scooter accident attorney can help you explore whether products liability is a legal grounds for recovery in your case. It’s possible that driver negligence and manufacturing defects are to blame in your case. If there are multiple causes, you may name more than one party in your claim for recovery.
What Can I Win in a Florida Scooter Accident Lawsuit?
If you’re hurt in a Florida scooter accident lawsuit, your claim may include the following types of damages:
- Medical bills, both present, and future
- Damage to the scooter if you own it
- Rehabilitative costs like wheelchairs, crutches, handrailings, and other mobility devices
- Physical therapy
- Mental health counseling
- Lost wages
- Disrupted career
- Pain; physical and emotional suffering
- Change in lifestyle
- Loss of relationship with a spouse
You may recover a wide range of damages when you’re hurt in a scooter accident. The value of your case depends on your personal injuries and losses. It’s important not to make assumptions about what you might be able to recover without speaking to an experienced attorney for scooter accidents.
Tampa Scooter Accident Attorneys
Have you been hurt in a scooter accident? We’re a team of experienced Tampa accident attorneys, and we’re ready to help. Jack Bernstein and his team of personal injury lawyers have the training, dedication, and compassion to help you fight for justice after an accident in Tampa.
Jack Bernstein is a proud graduate of the prestigious University of Miami School of Law. He has spent decades building a practice that fights for justice on behalf of accident victims each day. Call Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys today for a confidential consultation.