A man on a Lime electric scooter was hit and killed by an SUV while he was leaving an Atlanta MARTA station just after midnight.
It appears to be the first fatal accident involving a “dockless electric scooter” investigated by the Atlanta police (“APD”).
While this may have been the first APD fatality, we have seen a quick rise in the number of injuries sustained by riders of the e-scooters from companies such as Bird and Lime due to the negligence of others and, in some instances, from the negligence of the e-scooter company itself.
E-scooter injuries can occur from rider negligence, negligence of other drivers that results in cars and trucks hitting the scooter rider, or negligence of the scooter company in not properly storing or maintaining the scooters which results in severe injuries to the riders. In still other cases, we have seen innocent pedestrians being hurt by scooters left in the gutter or roadway and being tripped over by unsuspecting people. Through no fault of their own, they have been severely, and sometimes permanently injured by the scooter.
In general, a common carrier, such as tour buses and passenger jets, offer their services to the public under the authority of a regulatory body, which sets standards for safety and other passenger concerns. Commercial airlines, for example, must adhere to the regulations set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”). Regulations or not, carriers are required to exercise the highest degree of care and diligence in the safety of their passengers and/or cargo.
The failure to warn passengers about a potentially dangerous condition also can expose carriers to legal action. For example, an airline may be held liable for a passenger’s injuries if the pilot failed to turn on the fasten seatbelt sign after noticing heavy turbulence. But liability for failure to warn comes down to the question of whether a reasonably careful operator would have known or should have known about the dangerous condition.
Therefore, a carrier can be sued for injuries for either failing to adhere to a particular regulation (if it was the cause of the injury) or failing to exercise the care and diligence that would be expected of a reasonably careful operator. While e-scooter companies are a new and burgeoning mode of transportation, time will tell if they are deemed by Georgia courts to be a common carrier. From this law firm’s perspective it would seem obvious that they are common carriers, but there are no cases on point that have resolved this issue to date.
Robert J. Fleming is a partner in the law firm of Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia and Decatur, Georgia. He is a personal injury attorney who has been handling wrongful death, dental malpractice, pedestrian accidents, car accidents and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been injured or died as a result of negligence for over 25 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Bibb and Chatham counties in Georgia and nearby cities such as Alpharetta, Mobile, Augusta, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you or a family member has been seriously injured on an e-scooter and would like to discuss your case in complete confidence, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online. We are here to help.