Bird’s cozy deal with Los Angeles means
riders suing over scooter injuries just wind up
In 2020, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) reported that emergency room visits due to e-scooter accidents totaled to 25,400, an astounding increase from 7,700 in 2017. Not taking proper safety measures such as testing the brakes and avoiding distractions can result in serious injury or death, but what happens when an accident occurs out of the rider’s control?
For Daniel Peña, it’s been three years since his paralyzing e-scooter crash, and his lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles is a twisted mess with Bird, the scooter company, at the center. Right now, Peña is battling the consequences of not thoroughly understanding the company’s lengthy rental agreement before accepting and riding their e-scooters.
In 2019, Peña crashed into one of L.A.’s many deteriorated sidewalks buckled with tree roots and was ejected off of the scooter and into the street. With damage in two portions of his cervical spine and part of his skull, Peña will never be able to walk again.
Peña’s lawsuit alleges that colliding with the broken sidewalk resulted in his loss of control, and therefore the city’s overgrown tree caused his injuries. After the city’s futile motion to get the lawsuit thrown out, Bird stepped in as required under the terms of their business agreement. While Bird isn’t technically a party in the case, the company, under an agreement with the city, is paying for the city’s defense and will have to pay any damages Peña is granted.
If it were only that simple.
In a heartbreaking revelation, Peña learned that users who agree to Bird’s rental agreement after downloading their app indemnify the company against any lawsuits. Under that agreement, Peña allegedly owes Bird the $322,171 it has spent defending the city against his own lawsuit.
To add insult to injury, Bird says that if the suit goes to trial and the jury decides the city owes him damages, the penalty passes right through Bird — like grease through a goose — and Peña must pay the damages to himself. In what has become a backwards attack on a victim with lifelong injuries, the City of Los Angeles and Bird have taken measures to ensure that Peña pays the ultimate price for his accident.
While this case has yet to come to a conclusion, those who decide to rent e-scooters from Bird should be aware of the dangers that come with riding them, and the potential aftermath if a serious accident occurs.
Before riding an e-scooter, make sure you follow the CSPC recommended safety tips:
- Wear a helmet.
- Check for damage to the e-scooter.
- Test the brakes.
- Watch out for obstacles.
- Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
For the full list of tips, refer to the CSPC Safety Alert on e-scooters.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an e-scooter-related accident, contact the skilled Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Custodio & Dubey LLP. With over 25 years of experience, our lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for individuals and families who were harmed in accidents that could have been prevented.