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Roadway Debris Poses a Serious Risk to Motorized Scooters

Motorized scooters are taking America’s streets by storm. Seen as quick, flexible ways to get around town, they offer a fun alternative to walking, riding a bike, or catching a bus. On the other hand, scooters are also being blamed for a significant rise in injuries, including serious head wounds. One of the major sources of risk for scooter riders is roadway debris. The question for riders who are injured due to roadway debris is whether they have any legal recourse to recover compensation. Motorized scooters generally fall within the scope of Nevada’s rules governing mopeds. In many regards, a moped is treated like any other vehicle under Nevada’s traffic safety laws. Scooter riders therefore have a variety of basic obligations while they ride on public streets: obey traffic signals, take reasonable precautions to prevent accidents, and stay under the speed limit. Likewise, other drivers and pedestrians have a general obligation to use reasonable care to avoid accidents with moped riders. Roadway debris poses an interesting challenge for people who get hurt in accidents that it causes. Who is to blame for the debris being there? Answering that question is not always straightforward. Here are a few scenarios to consider:
  • A piece of equipment falls off the back of a truck, and a few minutes later the scooter rider falls while trying to avoid it. In this scenario, the owner and/or driver of the truck may bear liability for failing to properly secure the equipment, provided they can be identified.
  • An unresolved pothole leaves extensive gravel and other debris in the roadway. Such scenarios raise a number of questions. Which entity was responsible for maintaining the road? If the entity was a public agency, it may have protection against lawsuits under Nevada’s sovereign immunity law. On the other hand, if the agency failed to reasonably address a serious hazard of which it was aware, it may have committed negligence that would fall outside the sovereign immunity shield. Different standards apply to privately maintained roads.
  • Garbage blows onto the roadway from an adjacent property. Here again there will be tricky factual issues to resolve. Who was responsible for containing the garbage? What steps did they take to secure it, and what caused it to get loose?
For those who rent scooters from one of the several rental companies popping up around Las Vegas, it’s important to bear in mind that the rental contract probably includes some form of liability waiver, making a lawsuit against the rental company more difficult. Riders also should bear in mind that in any lawsuit their behavior as riders will be scrutinized. In general, a rider whose reckless behavior contributed to the accident should expect to have his or her chances of recovery reduced to some degree.

GGRM is a Las Vegas accident law firm

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and accident cases. We can help you examine your legal options if you have been injured in a scooter accident. For a free attorney consultation, contact us today at 702-388-4476 or through our contact page.