August 9, 2018 Mountain View / CA / USA - Lime Scooters lined up at the LimeHub in the Samsung campus in Silicon Valley, south San Francisco bay area

Motor scooters, due to their relatively low expense, convenience, and ability to be maneuvered through traffic, have become more and more popular in Nashville, Tennessee. Among other advantages, they are kind to the environment, reducing emissions whenever they are used instead of cars. Motor scooters travel at a low speed (typically 30 mph) and are available through Bird Rides, Inc, and Lime Bike as rentals throughout Nashville. Even though these vehicles travel relatively slowly, as soon as they hit the road, they became a cause of traffic accidents and personal injuries. If you have been seriously harmed while riding a Bird or Lime motor scooter, or after being hit by one, you may be able to collect significant compensation for your injuries. Your best bet is to get in touch with our personal injury attorney at Cummings Law as soon as possible since there is a statute of limitations for filing such a claim.

Bird and Lime transportation in Nashville was suspended for two months due to an acrimonious battle with city government, but since August 2018 these small motorized vehicles are back in business. Now, however, Lime and Bird have assured local government officials that they will collect and recharge the scooters each night so they do not block the sidewalks of the city. Since the scooters are dockless, meaning they can be picked up and left anywhere, this collection at the end of the day is necessary to keep them from becoming hazardous clutter on our sidewalks. As a matter of fact, if a motor scooter is found parked on a public right-of-way, the company can be fined $25 with the option of passing that fine onto the user. Bird or Lime scooters are considered “shared mobility devices,” like bicycles in many cities throughout the country, and users pay for them in the same way — by using apps on their smartphones.

Rules of the Road for Motor Scooters in Nashville

There are several regulations that apply to motor scooter riders in Nashville, including:

  • Scooters cannot be operated on sidewalks within a business district
  • Before passing pedestrians, Bird or Lime users are required to give audible warning
  • Scooters must have access to a 24-hour service phone number for the company
  • Operators of scooters must have a “Class M” driver’s license
  • Operators must wear standard helmets but are not required to wear goggles
  • Operators cannot legally ride on Interstate highways, limited access multi-lane highways or sidewalks
  • Operators do not require private insurance

Because Bird or Lime motor scooters are not owned by the people who ride them, they are insured by the company that rents them rather than their operators. With more and more of these vehicles on the roadways of Nashville, there is an increasing number of accidents involving these motor scooters.

Types of Motor Scooter Accidents

Motorized scooters, although they travel relatively slowly, can be involved in several types of accidents, including solo crashes caused by road hazards (e.g. potholes, fallen branches or debris) or mechanical defects. Operators of these vehicles are also at risk of being hit by another motor scooter, bicycle, motor vehicle, or an opening car door. Of course, it is also possible for a pedestrian to be hit by a motor scooter. Unfortunately, injuries incurred in a motor scooter accident can be as serious as those that result from any other traffic accident and may range from fractures to spinal cord injuries and from damage to internal organs to traumatic brain injuries.

Types of Compensation

If you have been injured in a Bird or Lime motor scooter accident, you may, depending on the circumstances and cause of the collision, be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries. There are three kinds of compensation you can receive for personal injuries: economic, non-economic, and (sometimes) punitive.

Economic damages to reimburse your financial costs, include those for:

  • Medical, surgical, and rehabilitative expenses
  • Out-of-pocket medication costs
  • Loss of income, present, and future
  • Long-term care costs related to permanent disability
  • Property damage

Non-economic damages reimburse you for consequences of the accident that are difficult to assign monetary value, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Impairment or disfigurement
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of limb
  • Loss of sight or hearing
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Brian Cummings is experienced at determining non-economic damages according to legal guidelines. Though the real costs of non-economic damages are incalculable, at least receiving this compensation will give you a sense that your losses are being acknowledged and justice is being served.

Punitive Damages
In order for punitive damages to be awarded, the defendant must have acted maliciously, intentionally, and/or criminally. Punitive damages are designed both to punish the offender and to prevent others from engaging in similarly egregious behavior.

Determining Fault in Nashville, Tennessee

Because the motor scooter rider is not insured by its operator, the company renting the motor scooter, in this case Bird or Lime, or the party with whom the operator of the motor scooter has collided, will be liable for compensation costs. In Tennessee, as in many other states, accident victims receive damages on a Modified Comparative Fault basis. This means that, once a lawsuit has been filed, the court will determine the percentage of blame that can be reasonably assigned to each party and calculate damages accordingly.

Thus, if you are injured while riding a Bird or Lime motor scooter primarily due to the fact that the car that hit you was driving recklessly, but you were found to be alcohol impaired at the time of the accident, the court may award you substantial damages but reduce those damages by the percentage of fault you are found to be at fault for your own injuries. For example, if the court found you to be 20 percent responsible for your own injuries, you may be awarded $100,000 in damages but will only receive $80,000.

Brian Cummings has in-depth knowledge of Tennessee Modified Comparative Fault law and has successful strategies to win you all of the compensation you deserve. If you are hit by the operator of a Bird or Lime motor scooter, he will fight vigorously to show that the driver of the vehicle had a duty to operate the vehicle in a safe manner and, in breaching that duty, caused the accident that resulted in your injuries and financial losses.

Contact Our Motor Scooter Accident Lawyer

Bird or Lime motor scooter cases are particularly difficult to win because of the unusual nature of the vehicles and because their operators are not their owners. For these reasons, if you are the victim of a Bird or Lime motor scooter accident, it is imperative that you contact Cummings Law promptly. Brian Cummings has comprehensive knowledge of motor scooter law and a track record of winning substantial damages for his clients. You can easily reach us by phone or through a contact form on our website.