In recent years, electric scooters, or e-scooters, have surged in popularity as a convenient mode of transportation. Their ease of use, affordability, and eco-friendliness make them an attractive alternative to traditional vehicles. However, an important issue has surfaced regarding insurance coverage for accidents involving e-scooters. Many riders may be surprised to learn that their insurance policies do not cover injuries sustained in e-scooter accidents. This article delves into why e-scooter accidents are not covered by insurance and what this means for riders.

E-ScootersLegal Classification of E-Scooters

The core of the issue lies in how e-scooters are classified under current laws. Unlike bicycles, which are often considered under pedestrian rules for insurance purposes, e-scooters do not fit neatly into existing categories. This classification has significant implications for insurance coverage:

  • Pedestrian vs. Vehicle: E-scooter riders are not classified as pedestrians because the scooters do not rely on muscular power. This distinction is crucial because insurance policies that cover pedestrians do not extend to e-scooter riders.
  • Automobile Classification: E-scooters are not classified as automobiles either. This means they do not benefit from the insurance protections that cover car drivers and passengers.

Case Study: New Jersey Supreme Court Ruling

A notable case in New Jersey highlights the complexities of this issue. David Goyco, an e-scooter rider, sought coverage under his auto insurance policy after being struck by a vehicle. His insurer, Progressive, denied his claim, stating that the e-scooter did not qualify as an automobile or a pedestrian vehicle. Goyco’s argument that e-scooters should be treated similarly to bicycles for insurance purposes was ultimately rejected by the New Jersey Supreme Court. The court maintained that e-scooters are not eligible for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, leaving riders without coverage for medical bills and other expenses.

Implications for E-Scooter Riders

This legal stance has several implications for e-scooter riders:

  • Lack of Medical Coverage: Without PIP coverage, e-scooter riders injured in accidents are left to pay for their medical expenses out of pocket. This can be a significant financial burden, as health insurance may not cover all the costs associated with injuries. Riders could face substantial bills for emergency care, surgeries, rehabilitation, and other medical services needed for their recovery.
  • Income Continuation: Injured e-scooter riders also miss out on income continuation benefits, which can be crucial during recovery periods. Without these benefits, riders may struggle to cover living expenses if they are unable to work. This financial strain can add to the stress of recovering from an injury and may lead to further economic hardship.
  • Legal Recourse: To recover damages after an accident, e-scooter riders may need to pursue legal action against at-fault drivers. This process can be time-consuming and costly, involving legal fees, court costs, and potentially lengthy litigation. Additionally, the outcome of such legal actions is uncertain, and riders may not receive the full compensation needed to cover their losses.

Potential Legislative Changes

Advocates argue that the current laws are outdated and do not reflect the growing use of e-scooters. There are calls for legislative changes to provide better protection for e-scooter riders:

  • Amendment of Insurance Laws: Expanding the definition of pedestrians to include e-scooter riders could extend PIP benefits to them. This change would ensure that riders receive coverage for medical expenses and other benefits, similar to those available to traditional pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Special E-Scooter Insurance Policies: Developing specific insurance policies for e-scooters could offer riders tailored coverage for accidents and injuries. These policies would provide comprehensive protection, addressing the unique risks associated with e-scooter use and ensuring riders are adequately covered in the event of an accident.

How Riders Can Protect Themselves

Given the current insurance landscape, e-scooter riders should take proactive steps to protect themselves:

  • Personal Health Insurance: Ensure that personal health insurance policies cover injuries from e-scooter accidents. Review your policy details to confirm coverage for e-scooter-related incidents, as this can help mitigate medical expenses that arise from unexpected accidents while riding.
  • Liability Insurance: Consider purchasing liability insurance that includes coverage for e-scooter accidents. This type of insurance can protect you financially if you are found at fault in an accident, covering damages to other parties and potential legal costs.
  • Safety Measures: Adopt safety measures such as wearing helmets, adhering to traffic laws, and using designated e-scooter lanes when available. These precautions can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, ensuring a safer riding experience for everyone involved.

Legal Support and Consultation

Understanding the nuances of e-scooter insurance coverage is essential for riders. Consulting with legal professionals can provide clarity and guidance on how to navigate the aftermath of an accident. Experienced attorneys can help determine the best course of action to secure compensation for injuries and damages.

The Path Forward

The rise in e-scooter usage calls for a reevaluation of insurance policies to ensure riders are adequately protected. As legal battles and legislative discussions continue, it is vital for e-scooter riders to stay informed and take necessary precautions to safeguard themselves.

Contact MyNJInjuryLawyer

Have questions? Need answers about an injury that occurred in New Jersey as a result of someone else’s negligence? If you or a loved one suffered an injury in an accident, you should contact an attorney familiar with handling these claims. My NJ Injury Lawyer Howard P. Lesnik, Esq. offers free strategy sessions to address any issue or questions you may have about your injury, medical bills or your accident claim.

Please contact NJ Injury Lawyer Howard Lesnik, Esq., immediately if you were involved in a pedestrian accident and were injured or suffered damages. I personally handle NJ personal injury cases on a regular basis. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session. Contact Us Today for a free consultation.