Tampa Scooter Accident Lawyer
Florida’s warm weather makes scooters a convenient, fun, and cost-effective way for Tampa residents to get around the city. Additionally, Tampa has a shared micro-mobility program, including four vendors Hopr, Bird, Lime, and Spin who provide electric scooters for Downtown Tampa and surrounding neighborhoods.
Increased availability of scooters in Tampa brings new riders, many of whom do not have experience on a scooter and are unfamiliar with the local traffic rules. Additionally, pedestrians cannot always anticipate scooters on the sidewalk. The confusion and inexperience surrounding scooter use in the city place motorists, pedestrians, and scooter riders in Tampa at risk of accidents and injuries.
If you have suffered injuries in a Tampa scooter accident, you could be eligible for compensation. Florida law permits you to take legal action against the at-fault party to recover damages related to your accident and injuries. Frank and Jennifer Fernandez and the rest of the skilled legal team at Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys can help. Contact us today to discuss the details of your scooter accident and determine your eligibility for compensation.
Scooter Laws in Tampa
In some Florida cites, scooter laws do not exist, or they are unclear, leaving riders to guess where and when they can ride their scooters. Florida lawmakers continue to introduce legislation with clear guidelines for scooter riders. However, until statewide guidance exists, Florida cities and counties regulate scooter use in their jurisdiction. Tampa’s municipal code spells out several restrictions for scooter users that include laws related to their shared micro-mobility program.
If you suffer injuries in a scooter accident as a pedestrian or motorist, you have a good chance of winning your case if the scooter driver broke one or more of these city ordinances:
- Users cannot operate a motorized scooter faster than 15 miles per hour on sidewalks or in sidewalk areas.
- Users can only operate motorized scooters on sidewalks if owned by a shared mobility device operator who has a contract with the City of Tampa.
- Scooter users must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on sidewalks and in crosswalks.
- Scooter users must provide a signal that pedestrians can hear if they pass them on a sidewalk.
- The City of Tampa prohibits motorized scooters on the Tampa Riverwalk, the sidewalk on Seventh Avenue, and the sidewalk on Bayshore Boulevard.
If you suffered injuries while riding your scooter in Tampa, you should know that you have the same rights as pedestrians on a sidewalk, on a roadway, and in a crosswalk. For example, a driver in a motor vehicle must give you the right-of-way at a crosswalk.
Causes of Tampa Scooter Accidents
Many scenarios can lead to a scooter accident. Sometimes scooter riders are to blame, and other times drivers or other parties are at fault for a Tampa scooter accident. The same negligent driving behaviors that lead to motor vehicle accidents lead to scooter accidents between vehicles and scooters, between scooters and pedestrians, and between scooters and other parties.
Scooter accidents in Tampa typically occur for one or more of the following reasons:
Electric scooters are relatively new and have gained popularity since Tampa created its shared micro-mobility program. Some people might have experience riding a motorcycle or moped, so they can safely operate a scooter. Others have little to no experience with scooters, especially navigating Tampa’s busy streets.
Additionally, scooters are much less expensive than motorcycles, so they have a broad appeal to cash-strapped students and other young adults. If you are a pedestrian or experienced scooter driver who experienced an injury because a scooter driver did not have the training to operate their scooter safely, you may be entitled to compensation.
Operating a Scooter Under the Influence
If a scooter driver who was under the influence of drugs and alcohol hit you, you have essentially experienced a DUI. Alcohol and drugs impact someone’s ability to accurately judge time and distance and impairs their bodies in other ways. Maintaining balance is crucial for those who ride scooters. Drug and alcohol use makes it difficult for scooter riders to maintain their balance and control their scooters, putting others at risk for injuries.
Manufacturers have a legal obligation to bring products that are safe for public use to the market. However, like other consumer products, scooters sometimes come with defects that can lead to accidents. In fact, LIME instituted two global recalls of their electric scooters in 2018. One recall resulted because scooter handlebars broke during use, and the other occurred because of fire risks associated with certain Lime scooters. Defective scooters can cause riders to lose control and get in an accident.
Recovering Damages After a Tampa Scooter Accident
If you sustained injuries in a Tampa scooter accident because of another party’s careless actions, Florida law permits you to take legal action to recover damages related to the accident and your injuries.
If you reach a settlement or a Florida court rules in your favor, you could recover these losses related to your scooter accident:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance service, emergency room treatment, diagnostic scans and tests, surgery, hospitalization, doctor visits, and prescription medication
- Estimated future medical treatment costs when scooter accident injuries lead to permanent disability or a condition that requires ongoing treatment and care
- Rehabilitation costs, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, assistive devices, and other therapies and tools that help accident victims face their injuries
- Lost wages from missing work due to injury, hospitalization, and recovery
- Estimated future lost wages when a permanent injury from a Tampa scooter accident prevents someone from returning to work
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Reduced quality of life
Tampa Scooter Accident FAQ
If you are unsure about your next steps after a scooter accident, it’s best to consult with an experienced scooter accident attorney as soon as possible. Until you have the chance to discuss the details of your case with one of our team members, the answers to the following frequently asked questions offer some preliminary information for your convenience.
#1. Does Your Florida PIP Insurance Apply in a Tampa Scooter Accident?
It depends on the situation. After a traffic crash involving a motor vehicle, those involved file a claim under their PIP policy to recover compensation for a portion of medical expenses and lost wages. Once a claimant exhausts their policy limit, they can step outside Florida’s no-fault system and file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy. Scooters are motor vehicles, so you might think you can file a claim under your PIP policy. However, this is not always the case.
Your PIP coverage will likely apply if you suffered scooter accident injuries while on a bicycle or in an automobile. Florida PIP coverage does not extend to motorcycles or similar vehicles, nor does it extend to pedestrians. If you were on a scooter or walking during a Tampa scooter accident, your PIP coverage probably will not apply.
#2. How Long Do I Have to Bring a Lawsuit After a Tampa Scooter Accident?
Florida law has a four-year statute of limitations on most personal injury cases, including those involving scooter accidents. This means you have four years from the date of your accident to bring a lawsuit against another party responsible for your injuries. If you fail to take action, it’s doubtful a Florida court will hear your case. Some rare situations provide grounds for a court to pause the statute of limitations clock, but it’s best to take action as soon as possible. This helps avoid complications related to evidence and witness availability.
#3. What Should I Do if I Received a Settlement Offer From an Insurance Company?
Insurance companies who are relatively sure their policyholders are at-fault for an accident sometimes make quick settlement offers to injured victims. It’s in your best interest to let a lawyer review any offer you receive. Many early offers are far lower than the value of the claim and intend to entice victims with quick money. Once you accept an offer, you must also give up your right to seek additional future compensation for the same event.
In the early weeks after your scooter accident, you likely do not know the full scope of your injuries. Until your doctors give you a long-term prognosis and you learn whether you have any permanent injuries, you cannot know the actual value of your claim. If you accept an early offer, you could leave yourself without the money you need for additional care and treatment. It’s best to consider the first offer as the starting point for negotiations and let your lawyer negotiate a better settlement once you know the extent of your injuries.
#4. Do I Have to Testify in Court for My Tampa Scooter Accident Claim?
Litigation is expensive, so both sides have the motivation to settle long before preparing for trial. The majority of accident injury claims settle before court. However, liability disputes and the inability to reach an agreeable amount sometimes force litigation, so you might have to testify in court. Although it’s unlikely your claim will go to trial, you should prepare for the possibility. Your attorney can review your claim and advise you on the likelihood of your case going to trial.
#5. How Long Will it Take to Settle My Tampa Scooter Accident Case?
Each case is different, with varying timelines. Several factors impact how long it takes to resolve an accident injury claim. If you have suffered severe injuries, you need to wait several months or longer to know the scope of your injuries. Liability disputes sometimes cause settlement negotiations to last far longer than average. If you have to go to trial, it could take two or more years to resolve your claim. Litigation adds months to the timeline of a claim because it takes time to prepare for trial. You could settle your case in as little as six months, but it could take years. Your scooter accident attorney can give you an idea of what to expect.
#6. How Much Compensation Can I Receive After a Tampa Scooter Accident?
Compensation greatly varies among claims because of different facts and circumstances. Your lawyer will review your case and calculate your tangible economic losses, such as medical treatment costs and lost wages, to place a monetary value on your claim. Your attorney will also estimate future economic loss and place a value on non-economic losses, which refer to the ways your injuries have impacted your life physically, socially, and professionally.
#7. Can I Afford to Hire a Tampa Scooter Accident Lawyer?
Yes. Everyone deserves legal counsel to help them recover damages when they suffer injuries in a scooter accident or any other accident. It’s an industry standard for personal injury firms to offer free consultations to prospective clients. If you choose to hire an attorney, you will enter a contingent fee agreement with the firm. This agreement does not require you to pay money upfront and gives your attorney permission to deduct their fees and other costs from any compensation you receive for your injuries from an insurance settlement or jury award.
#8. Get the Legal Help You Need from a Tampa Scooter Accident Lawyer
Let Frank and Jennifer Fernandez and the team at Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys help after a Tampa scooter accident. An experienced scooter accident attorney can handle the details of your claim, investigate your scooter accident, and communicate with insurance companies and other relevant parties. Contact us today online or at (304) 470-2056 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident, the ways your injuries have impacted your life, and your legal options for recovering damages.
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The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys
2503 W Swann Ave #100
Tampa, FL 33609