Florida’s warm climate makes scooters a fun way to navigate the city for residents and visitors alike. You never have to search for a parking place when you’re on a scooter, and whether gas-powered or electric, scooters are environmentally friendly when compared to buses, cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles.
Shared scooter programs, like those offered by Lime, Bird, and JUMP by Uber, have also increased the availability of scooters in Orlando and the surrounding area. As convenient and fun as scooters are, they come with risks. Most riders have little to no experience on a scooter, especially navigating Orlando’s busy traffic. Similarly, pedestrians struggle with responding to electric scooters on the sidewalk. Finally, laws governing scooters aren’t clear, causing even more confusion.
These conditions put everyone on Orlando’s road at risk for a severe scooter accident and injuries. If you have sustained injuries as a result of a scooter accident in the Greater Orlando area, contact Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney, at 407-422-4529 to discuss the details of your accident and injuries. One of our experienced personal injury attorneys will evaluate your case and help you understand your options going forward.
Our Results in Personal Injury Cases
Michael T. Gibson has represented accident injury victims for almost 20 years. His continued dedication to professional excellence and client advocacy has led to the recovery of millions of dollars in awards and settlements for his clients. In fact, Mr. Gibson has been recognized for his service numerous times by his peers through Avvo.com and Martindale-Hubbell.
Recent judgments and settlements range from $60,000 to over $3 million. Examples include wrongful death cases for $3.2 million, $1.25 million, and $1.1 million. Some recent auto accident cases resulted in settlements for $750,000, $650,000, and $550,000.
These are only examples and do not guarantee a specific outcome for your scooter accident case. Each accident that leads to injuries has distinctive facts that can increase or decrease the value of a claim. You can rest assured, however, that Michael T. Gibson and the legal team at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney, have the resources and expertise to build the best possible expertise against those who caused you harm, giving you the best chances for a positive outcome in your case.
Scooter Laws in Orlando
Laws in Florida for scooters range from unclear to non-existent, depending on which city you live in or visit. These gaps in law can leave riders wondering where and when scooter use is permitted. Additionally, some confusion exists about which devices specifically fall under the umbrella of the word scooter.
As electric scooters and shared scooter programs become more popular throughout Orlando and the nation, Florida’s legislators continue to introduce more specific and clear laws for users. Until those laws are in place, Florida cities and counties regulate scooter use in their jurisdictions. You might already know Orlando is located in Orange County, where the Sheriff’s Department offers information for scooter riders. It specifically offers a guide that provides information about different types of scooters and the extent to which they are permitted on local roads.
Specific types of vehicles that fall under Orange County’s scooter laws include:
- Motorized scooter/go-ped. These small, two-wheeled (sometimes three-wheeled) motor vehicles have a seat, so riders may sit or stand when they maneuver the vehicle with its T-shaped handlebar. Some motorized scooters can be gas-powered, and others have electric motors.
- Pocket bike. These motor vehicles are mini-motorcycles with gas engines and automatic transmissions. Pocket bike engines are no larger than 50cc.
- Mopeds. These two-wheeled motor vehicles also have engines that are no larger than 50cc, and they operate at a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour. Mopeds can be gas or electric.
- Motorized bicycles. These bicycles look similar to a normal bicycle, but they have electric motors to assist the rider. Motorized bicycles travel at a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.
All of the above motor vehicles, except motorized bicycles, require the rider to have a driver’s license under Florida law, and each vehicle must be registered as a motor vehicle with the State of Florida. However, manufacturers throw a wrench into this situation.
Companies that make go-peds, pocket bikes, and motorized scooters don’t meet the minimum requirements set forth by the Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Act. This means riders cannot register them for use on public streets and roads, even if the rider has a valid driver’s license. Motorized bicycles, on the other hand, can be ridden in public spaces, because operators don’t need a license, nor do they need to register the bike.
Orlando’s City Council has recently approved a pilot program allowing shared-scooter companies to place scooters throughout the city. Operators, motorists, and pedestrians face the risk of scooter-related accidents and injuries with this change. Other Florida cities, like Fort Lauderdale, have allowed dockless bike and scooter programs with negative results.
Motorists and pedestrians don’t always know how to react to scooters causing accidents and injuries. Additionally, scooter issues at Disney World in Orlando have led to visitors suffering injuries; however, these are four-wheeled scooters used by disabled Disney patrons. Little can be done to change laws permitting such scooter use at the park, because it is protected by federal law, in a similar way as wheelchairs. That said, those who drive them without regard to others can cause injury.
Does Your PIP Insurance Apply in a Scooter Accident?
As with the answers to most insurance, accident, and lawsuit related questions, whether your PIP insurance applies following an accident depends on your specific circumstances. Florida is one of about a dozen no-fault insurance states that require those who register a motor vehicle to carry a minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
This means if a driver gets in a traffic accident, all parties involved file a claim under their own PIP policies first. Once they meet or exceed their policy limits, they can step outside of the no-fault system and file a claim with the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability (BIL) carrier. It follows that scooters are motor vehicles, so parties involved should be able to file a claim under their PIP policy, but it isn’t quite that simple.
PIP policy coverage typically extends to drivers when they are on their bicycles, but does not apply if they are riding a motorcycle, or if they are hit as a pedestrian. If you’ve been injured as the driver of a motor vehicle in a scooter accident, your PIP policy will likely apply. If you were riding a scooter or a pedestrian and suffered injuries, you likely will not be able to file under your PIP coverage, unfortunately.
Those who suffer injuries in a scooter accident and don’t have PIP coverage to fall back on for initial treatment costs and lost income will immediately have to cope with the economic costs of a serious accident and injuries. Until Florida’s laws about scooters and associated insurance coverage are clear for drivers, scooter riders, and policyholders, those who suffer injuries in an Orlando scooter accident need to consult with an experienced attorney for the best odds of recovering any compensation for damages after an electric scooter accident.
Recovering Damages After a Scooter Accident in Orlando
If you or your child has sustained injuries in a scooter accident as a result of another party’s negligent behavior, Florida law entitles you to sue for damages related to the accident and injuries in civil court. If your attorney negotiates an agreeable settlement or if a court rules in your favor, you can recover some or all of the following economic and non-economic losses:
Costs for medical treatment vary based on the nature and severity of an injury. The most severe accident injuries include transportation via ambulance to the nearest hospital and the emergency room visit. Severe injuries often require hospitalization, and victims might need surgery, too. Other medical expenses include diagnostic imaging, prescription medication, aftercare, and follow-up visits.
Future Medical Treatment
Sometimes, a scooter accident victim’s prognosis requires more treatment or one or more surgeries. In this case, a lawyer will include these costs in a claim. In other instances, scooter accidents can result in permanent injuries that require ongoing treatment indefinitely. When families cannot care for a victim, he or she will need to receive care at a long-term nursing care facility. These facilities are notorious for being expensive, and they aren’t typically covered by any type of insurance unless the victim has a separate policy.
The cost of rehabilitation services are also a type of medical expense, but you should consider them separately because they vary greatly. A wide variety of specialists can help accident victims with different aspects of rehabilitation. Depending on the type of injury, accident victims might visit a physical therapist to help them regain lost function or an occupational therapist to help them cope with a disability and learn how to go about their daily routine in a different way.
Accidents can be emotionally traumatic for some victims, who might seek the help of a psychologist or other mental health professional. Also, victims sometimes need assistive devices, such as crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers, during rehabilitation and beyond.
If you are involved in a severe scooter accident, you may need to miss work for days, weeks, or even months. Your accident claim will typically include any lost income from missing work and paid time off that you use for the accident, hospitalization, and recovery. If a scooter accident causes a catastrophic injury that prevents you or a loved one from returning to work or finding any gainful employment, your claim should also include compensation for future lost income, known as lost earning capacity.
The type of non-economic damages that you can recover in a scooter accident claim depends on the type of injuries that you sustain and how severe they are. Some examples of non-economic damages included in Florida accident claims include:
- Physical pain and suffering for injuries
- Emotional pain and suffering for the trauma and mental anguish from the accident and injuries
- Loss of quality of life when an injury severely impacts a person’s ability to do the things that he or she did before the injury
- Loss of consortium with a spouse when the emotional and sexual relationship is damaged as a result of injury
- Punitive damages reserved for rare cases of gross negligence or intentional harm
- Compensation for scarring and disfigurement if a victim has to cope with the trauma and embarrassment of permanent scars
If you have lost a child or other loved one as a result of a scooter accident, you might be eligible for compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit, which you file against the at-fault party. Florida law permits eligible family members to sue for damages, depending on their relationship to the deceased. Survivors who receive compensation can recover some of the previously listed damages as well as costs for a visitation, funeral, or memorial service.
Wrongful death suits typically also include costs for cremation or burial. Other non-economic damages addressing the relationships of the deceased can also be included in some wrongful death suits. Your attorney will answer any questions and advise you on what you should include in your claim.
Orlando Uber Accident FAQ
Uber has operated in Orlando and throughout Florida since 2014. Although the rideshare service provides a convenient transportation option for Orlando residents and visitors, it also comes with negligent drivers who cause traffic accidents. If you have sustained injuries in an Orlando Uber accident, you probably feel overwhelmed and have questions about how you should proceed.
If you are unsure about your next steps, you should err on the side of caution and call an attorney for a free consultation as soon as possible after your accident. Until you have the chance to speak with a lawyer, this guide provides answers to frequently asked questions about Uber accidents in Orlando.
Do I have to notify law enforcement after an Uber accident in Orlando?
Yes, you generally must file a report with the police when you are involved in an automobile accident. The exception to this is Uber riders who are in the car when an accident occurs. As an occupant of the vehicle, riders are not required to report an accident to law enforcement. However, it’s in your best interest to make sure that someone has reported the accident.
The specific reporting requirements for drivers involved in accidents include:
- Under Florida law, drivers involved in a traffic accident that leads to injury, death, or $500 in property damage must immediately notify the local police, sheriff’s department, or Florida Highway Patrol.
- Drivers involved in a traffic accident that only leads to property damage must stop and exchange name, vehicle, and insurance information with the other party to avoid getting charged with a misdemeanor.
- All drivers involved in a traffic accident that involves injury, death, or property damage must provide their contact and vehicle information to other involved individuals as well as to law enforcement.
- When drivers suffer severe injuries and cannot give or receive information, they may report the crash as soon as possible at a later date.
- When drivers physically cannot file a police report, they can rely on a passenger to file the report. Drivers who are using another person’s car are permitted to let the car owner file the report, as long as the report is filed within 10 days.
Florida does allow drivers to self-report a crash online or by mail if they were involved in a minor fender-bender that had no injuries, no fatalities, and less than $500 in property damage. Regardless, it’s in your best interest to have the police come to the scene of any accident.
How do I get a copy of the police report?
You can request a copy of the official traffic crash report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). You will need to wait up to one week after the accident to make sure the officer who made the report loads it in the system.
Once available, you can order a copy online for $10, plus a $2 convenience fee. After you finalize your payment, FLHSMV sends you a link to your report. You must download it within 48 hours from receiving the link. If you would rather get your crash report in person, you need to visit the nearest Florida Highway Patrol troop station, fill out a sworn statement, and submit your request with payment.
I did not seek medical treatment, and now I have pain. What should I do?
You should go to the doctor immediately. It’s not uncommon for accident victims to feel fine immediately after a crash. Accidents are traumatic events that push adrenaline through your body and mask pain. Also, some injuries do not show symptoms immediately after an accident. In fact, you may only start feeling pain from your injuries days or weeks after your accident.
When you go to the doctor, he or she will examine you for common injuries related to traffic accidents, especially those that you might not immediately feel, like internal damage. Internal injuries are often serious. Something as minor as a broken rib may cause further damage to organs. Additionally, you may experience headaches and stiffness in the neck area from whiplash or traumatic brain injuries.
If you intend on filing an insurance claim or bringing a lawsuit against the Uber driver who caused you harm, you need medical documentation of your injuries. Defense teams will try to devalue injury claims or completely deny liability by arguing that an accident victim did not sustain injuries or suffered injuries at a different time and place. Your medical records are a key piece of evidence to support an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, so doesn’t my PIP insurance cover my losses after an Uber accident?
Your first step toward recouping losses after an Uber accident is to file a claim under your own mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Florida requires motorists to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage when they register their motor vehicles. If your Uber accident was minor, your PIP policy may adequately cover your losses.
If your accident resulted in severe or catastrophic injuries, however, you will quickly exceed your PIP policy limits, especially if you only have the minimum coverage.
In either case, your PIP policy only covers 80 percent of medical expenses and 60 percent of lost wages, and it does not compensate you for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium with a spouse. Recouping any economic or non-economic losses beyond your PIP coverage requires filing a claim with the Uber driver’s insurance carrier or with Uber directly.
An Uber driver struck me while I was riding my motorcycle. Does my PIP insurance apply?
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is not mandatory for bikers in Florida. If you suffered injuries after an Uber driver hit your motorcycle, you may need to file a claim with the driver’s insurance carrier or with Uber’s insurance company to receive compensation to cover losses related to the accident and your injuries.
How do I file a claim with Uber’s insurance carrier?
Uber works with several major insurance companies to provide coverage for drivers who are signed in to the app and transporting riders. In Florida, Progressive Insurance provides coverage for Uber drivers and has for some time.
If you were injured in a traffic accident caused by an Uber driver, you need to report the incident to Uber and file a claim under your own PIP policy. Once you’ve exhausted your PIP coverage, you can file a claim with Progressive to seek further compensation for your injuries.
Insurance companies—including your own—sometimes downplay injuries and do not take claimants seriously, so having your lawyer deal with the claims process might be in your best interest. Progressive only allows policyholders to access their online portal to report accidents. If you do not have any insurance through Progressive, you can call 1-800-776-4737 to file your accident claim. You’re better off having our car accident lawyers file that claim, however. We can protect your rights, while the insurance company may try to take advantage of you.
How much time do I have to take legal action after an Uber accident in Orlando?
Under Florida law, you must bring a lawsuit against your Uber driver and/or Uber within four years from the date of your injury, which for all practical purposes is the date of the accident. If you have lost a loved one as a result of a negligent Uber driver, you have two years to file a wrongful death suit against the negligent driver and/or Uber. These time limits are referred to as statutes of limitations, and Florida courts strictly comply with them.
It’s in your best interest to act far more quickly than four years. Waiting will almost always hurt your case. Your car accident lawyer will need time to collect evidence, interview witnesses, gather expert testimony, and review your medical bills.
Do I have to appear in court after an Uber accident?
The vast majority of traffic accident claims, including those involving Uber drivers, settle out of court. Your Orlando Uber accident lawyer will negotiate with the insurance carrier who represents the Uber driver, or Uber’s insurance company (Progressive, as of April 2020), and attempt to reach an agreement that provides you with fair compensation for your accident-related losses.
Sometimes, insurance carriers deny liability, diligently try to reduce the value of your claim, and simply refuse to offer fair compensation. When settlement is not an option, your lawyer will have to advocate for you in court and fight for a verdict in your favor. If your case goes to trial, you will likely have to testify in court.
How much money will I get from my Uber accident settlement?
It’s impossible to predict or guarantee a specific financial outcome for an accident settlement or jury verdict. Each situation has different circumstances and underlying facts that help lawyers, insurance companies, and courts place value on a claim. You can expect disagreement about the value of your claim, and typically, the further apart each party’s estimated damages are, the more contentious your claim or lawsuit will be. Regardless of the exact situation, individuals who value your claim will ask common questions to make their determination.
Some examples include:
- How severe is your injury? Accidents that involve severe or catastrophic injuries are typically valued higher than those in which victims suffered only minor injuries. For example, an Uber accident victim who requires surgery for a brain injury would likely receive a higher settlement than a victim who suffered a moderate concussion.
- What is the nature of your injury? Some injuries force victims to cope with added challenges that can cause embarrassment and emotional distress. These types of injuries usually result in higher settlements. The nature of the injury might have to do with severity, but also location. For example, a person who develops a permanent scar on his or her face from a car accident would likely get a higher settlement than a person with the same size and type of scar on his or her hip or leg.
- What is your long-term prognosis? Uber accident victims who have made a full recovery or are expected to make a full recovery typically receive less compensation than those who must cope with their injuries for life.
- How extensive were your economic losses as a result of your accident injuries? Severe injuries are costly for victims and their families. Economic losses are easy to quantify, but they add up quickly. Victims who cannot work, must undergo surgery, and require long periods of hospitalization easily amass tens or hundreds of thousands in economic losses. Rehabilitation costs, expenses for travel to and from the doctor, long-term nursing care, and costs of domestic replacement services are only a few of the expenses that can add to the value of a claim.
Should I accept a settlement offer from the insurance company?
Uber carries $1,000,000 in liability coverage, as required by Florida law, for drivers who are signed in to the app and actively transporting passengers. Even with a high coverage amount, it does not mean that Uber wants to pay a large claim or jury verdict.
One common tactic insurance companies use to avoid a portion of financial responsibility is to offer accident victims a quick settlement soon after the accident. These speedy offers are meant to tempt accident victims to ‘take the money and run’ but rarely fall under the umbrella of full or fair compensation. Accepting a settlement offer typically means that you must waive your right to file a lawsuit.
You should never accept a settlement offer without first consulting our experienced Uber accident attorneys. We can ensure that the insurance company is playing fair and likely negotiate a higher settlement for you.
How much does it cost to retain an Orlando Uber accident attorney?
It’s standard practice for personal injury law firms to offer free consultations to discuss case details and determine legal strategy. If you speak with an attorney, and he or she advises you to take legal action, you generally do not have to pay a retainer or any upfront fees. It’s also standard practice for car accident firms to accept cases on a contingency fee basis, deducting attorney fees from any compensation you receive from a settlement or jury award. In that sense, the other party will pay your attorney’s fees, not you.
Get the Legal Help You Need From an Orlando Scooter Accident Lawyer
Scooter accidents are on the rise in Orlando, Florida, and throughout the nation. Unfortunately, state laws continue to sow frustration and confusion for those involved. Meanwhile, scooter accidents can cause severe and costly injuries that devastate victims and their families.
You can let our experienced Orlando scooter accident lawyers handle the details of your claim, investigate your accident, handle communication with insurance companies, and fight for you in the courtroom, if necessary.
If you were injured in a scooter accident in the Greater Orlando area, contact the skilled legal team at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., online or at 407-422-4529 to discuss the events that led to your accident and how your injuries have impacted your life. A member of our team can help you find the best path forward for your circumstances.
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“I couldn’t be happier with the services provided to me by Michael T. Gibson’s team. Kathy, Jeannette and Amit did an outstanding job in representing me. Throughout the entire process they kept me updated, were easily reachable via email or telephone and always maintained kindness, patience and professionalism. I highly recommend using Michael T. Gibson’s law office as your auto justice attorneys. You will be in the best hands.” -Ash T.