Orange County Moped Accident Lawyers
Mopeds and scooters are excellent ways to get around your local neighborhood, whether you live in Newport Beach or Costa Mesa, without having to spend thousands of dollars on a high-end motorcycle. However, these vehicles present many of the same dangers, especially when confronted with reckless drivers. Many drivers who skirt Orange County’s traffic laws put moped riders in serious danger and can even kill them in a collision.
If you or someone you love was injured in a moped accident that was not your fault, reach out to the legal team at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie. Our Orange County moped accident attorneys have spent more than 40 years helping injured clients recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. We can utilize that same skill and knowledge to represent you in a personal injury claim. To speak with our team in a free consultation, contact our office at (949) 752-7474.
While “moped” and “scooter” are often used interchangeably, there are important legal and technical differences. Each vehicle can only be driven in specific situations, and riders should always be aware of what traffic laws govern their vehicles. According to the California DMV, these vehicles are defined as:
- Mopeds: Referred to as “motorized bicycles,” mopeds are electrically powered vehicles that use two to three wheels and automatic transmissions to travel no more than 30 mph. To ride a moped, a rider must be at least 16 years old, have a motorcycle license, and wear a helmet. Mopeds are allowed to travel on public roads but not highways.
- Scooters: Typically slower than mopeds, scooters are two-wheeled vehicles that have handlebars, a motor, and a floorboard for the rider to stand on. Scooters do not have to have seats, which is why e-scooters like Lyme are included in this definition. Riders must wear helmets and can only use their scooters on public roads that have a speed limit of less than 25 mph or in a bike lane. You are not allowed to ride scooters on sidewalks and can only travel up to 15 mph. Lime and Bird e-scooters are included in this definition.
Following these regulations is not only important to keeping you safe -- it can also impact your personal injury claim, in the event you experience an accident. California is a comparative negligence state, meaning a jury can find multiple people at fault for an accident. If you were riding a scooter on a road that had a speed limit over 25 mph and were hit by a car, the jury may reduce the amount of compensation you can receive from the at-fault driver. However, so long as you are less than 50% at fault, you can still recover compensation, but you will want to work with an experienced lawyer.
Moped and scooter riders, like motorcyclists, are extremely exposed on the road. Their vehicles lack the strong frames, crumple zones, and safety features that would protect a car’s occupant in a collision. But, when compared to motorcycles, mopeds and scooters are actually more dangerous.
Modern motorcycles have larger tires, better maneuverability at high speeds, and anti-lock brakes, all of which make them more stable. Motorcycles are less likely to fall over if side-swiped, and new safety features ensure that riders do not have to lay down their bikes in a crash. In addition, most riders wear safety gear to minimize the risk of an injury in a motorcycle accident, such as leather pants, padded jackets, and DOT-certified helmets.
Mopeds and scooters, on the other hand, are lighter and less stable on the road. In a collision, a rider can easily be thrown into the road, suffering traumatic and costly injuries. Oftentimes, riders are not aware of California’s moped and scooter laws, which means they may not have the right safety gear or may ride in dangerous conditions. In many cases, these accidents can be fatal.
Given the limited safety features for mopeds and scooters, riders can suffer a wide range of debilitating injuries, such as:
- Road rash from exposed skin
- Multiple broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries, even with a helmet
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Nerve damage
- Torn and sprained tendons and ligaments
These injuries can be extensive and overlap, meaning you may need multiple surgeries, medications, and months of rehabilitation to fully recover. None of this will be cheap, even with health insurance. Moped and scooter riders are not required to have auto or motorcycle insurance, meaning their only option to cover the costs of an accident is to file a claim with the at-fault driver.
While you may assume that you can receive compensation simply because a driver hit you, accident claims are far more complicated. You will need to show how the driver caused your injuries through negligent or reckless driving and why he or she is liable for your injuries. This requires an in-depth investigation, weeks of research, and a thorough understanding of the law. Your best option is to speak to an attorney at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie. We have more than 40 years of experience investigating auto accident claims and collecting evidence of negligence.
In our experience, the main causes of moped and scooter accidents include drivers doing the following:
- Dangerous lane changes
- Backing out of a driveway without checking any mirrors
- Driving while texting or making a call
- Driving while intoxicated
- Committing a hit-and-run collision where the driver flees the scene of the accident
- Failing to brake in time at an intersection or stop sign, causing a rear-end collision
Moped and scooter accidents are often the result of driver negligence. Negligence can include any traffic violation or dangerous driving habits leading to a crash. If a driver injured you in this way, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation from his or her insurance company.
California does not require moped and scooter riders to have insurance policies to cover their vehicles; however, that does not mean you do not have any options. For one, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, which can provide compensation for:
- Medical expenses, both past and future
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity or career opportunities if you are left disabled
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium (only available to spouses in a wrongful death claim)
In addition, if you have motorcycle insurance for your moped or scooter, your own insurance policy may apply. If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident, then you could file an uninsured motorist accident claim with your insurance company. If you have MedPay or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, then you can receive immediate coverage for your injuries up to your policy limit.
A moped or scooter colliding with a larger vehicle can be extremely distressing. These accidents are rarely minor and come with high price tags. You may assume you have to pay for your medical bills and treatment out of pocket, but if you were injured by a negligent driver, then you have more options than you think.
The experienced and knowledgeable Orange County motorcycle accident attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie are experts in filing successful accident claims. If you were injured by a negligent driver while riding a moped or scooter, we can advocate for full compensation for your injuries. We offer every potential client a free consultation and will not accept a dime of your money unless we win your claim. To get started, contact our office at (949) 752-7474.
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