Before you get on a scooter, do you think about whether you might injure someone and what might happen if you do? Probably not. After all, when we get behind the wheel of our car, we often don’t think about injuring someone else and just assume that nothing bad will happen. But, most people have been involved in a car crash or know someone who has. Although scooters aren’t as common as cars, they potential for injuring someone is very real, and the stakes are likely much higher.
The law says that if you injure someone, regardless of whether it is with your car or a scooter, you are responsible for “making them whole.” This means you have to pay for what you broke. Makes sense, right? It isn’t any different than what we learned as children – if we break something, we have to pay for it and make it right.
For scooter cases (and car crashes), “making it right” usually means paying for the person’s medical bills (including their future medical bills related to the injuries), reimbursing them for their wage loss, and paying them for any personal property that was broken or ruined. But the biggest part of any claim is paying someone for their “pain and suffering.” This means paying someone because of the pain, inconvenience, and loss of enjoyment of life that they suffered because they were injured as a result of someone else’s actions. After all, if someone is injured badly enough that they can’t take care of themselves and can’t do the things they usually did, and they suffered horrible pain, you can’t “make it right” by only paying their medical bills and wage loss. The pain and suffering component is impossible to predict accurately and can be quite large.
If you injure someone in a car crash and you have car insurance, most of the time your insurance company will hire a lawyer for you (for free) and will try to settle the case for less than the amount of your insurance coverage, depending on the harm caused. BUT, if you injure someone on a scooter, you may not have any insurance coverage to compensate the other person. This means you will have to pay for a lawyer yourself and you will have to pay for the person’s medical bills, wage loss, personal property, and pain and suffering out of your own pocket. It also makes it more likely that you will be sued and that your wages may be garnished or worse. In addition, depending on the circumstances, you may face criminal charges.
So, what do you do to prevent injuring someone else and harming yourself financially? Here are a few tips:
- Talk to your insurance agent now to see if your current insurance policies cover scooter crashes;
- Buy insurance coverage to protect you if you injure someone while riding a scooter;
- NEVER ride a scooter if you have been drinking, taking drugs or are otherwise impaired;
- ALWAYS make sure that you know whether the scooter itself is safe, that you know how to ride the scooter, and that the area in which you are riding is suitable for scooters;
- ALWAYS ride safely and cautiously and pay attention to hazards and dangers;
- NEVER wear headphones or earbuds because they make it more difficult for you to pay attention and perceive dangers;
- NEVER assume that other people will see you or get out of your way; and
- ALWAYS yell out to people before passing them.