When you signed up to rent an electric scooter (or eScooter) through an app on your phone, you probably clicked through the Terms of Service without reading a word. As a result, you probably are not aware that any claims you may have against the rental company (i.e. Bird, Lime, Lyft or Skip) are subject to mandatory arbitration.
Companies that offer consumer services routinely include mandatory arbitration clauses in their contracts. The reason for this is simple: While arbitration is ostensibly a neutral venue that offers equal benefits to both parties, in practice, large corporations have far more to gain from compelling their customers to resolve “any and all” disputes through arbitration. The proceedings are private, the costs to initiate a claim can be higher than the cost of filing a lawsuit in court, and the outcome will not be determined by a jury of your peers. The process also moves more quickly, and standard arbitration clauses also typically include a class action waiver. In other words, in arbitration, it is you versus the company, and the cards are – to a certain extent – stacked against you.
But, winning in arbitration is not impossible (in fact, consumers can win arbitration awards), and not all mandatory arbitration clauses are legally enforceable. Furthermore, not all eScooter accident claims are subject to the rental company’s Terms of Service. If you have been injured in an accident, you owe it to yourself to seek help, and you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
eScooter Accident Claims that May Be Subject to Mandatory Arbitration
As a general rule, mandatory arbitration clauses apply to claims that eScooter riders have against the rental companies. So, examples of claims that may be subject to mandatory arbitration include:
- Claims related to scooter malfunctions (such a brake failure or the throttle getting stuck in the open position).
- Claims related to dangerous scooter functionalities (such as programs that automatically reduce your speed in “geo-fenced” areas and then immediately increase your speed once you pass through the area without warning).
- Claims related to inadequate eScooter maintenance (such as failure to replace work brake pads or broken standing platforms).
eScooter Accident Claims that are Not Subject to Mandatory Arbitration
Claims that eScooter riders have against third parties are not subject to mandatory arbitration. Likewise, if you were injured and you did not agree to mandatory arbitration (i.e. if you were injured as a pedestrian), then you can take your case to court. Examples of claims that are not subject to mandatory arbitration include:
- Scooter riders’ claims against negligent motor vehicle drivers.
- Scooter riders’ claims against other negligent scooter riders.
- Scooter riders’ claims against public entities and contractors responsible for creating dangerous road or sidewalk conditions.
- Pedestrians’ claims against negligent eScooter riders (including claims related to eScooter parking violations).
- Pedestrians’ claims against electric scooter rental companies.
Were You Injured in an eScooter Accident?
If you have been injured in an eScooter accident, it is important that you speak with an attorney about your legal rights. To find out if you are entitled to seek financial compensation in arbitration or in court, please call 954-764-4849 or request a free initial consultation online today.