Dismissal of Scooter Injury Lawsuit Shows the Danger of Proceeding without Legal Counsel


February 11, 2014

While many people perceive that a scooter, moped, Vespa® or similar vehicle is relatively benign form of recreation and transportation, these vehicles are similar to motorcycles in terms of their lack of stability and protection. Because scooter-type vehicles offer essentially no protection from injury during a crash, collisions with passenger vehicles can cause severe injury, necessitating a long arduous course of treatment and rehabilitation. The physical and emotional toll can also be equally devastating when the driver of a scooter runs down a pedestrian.

Many people involved in scooter crashes never fully recover and need long-term supportive care. The hospital bills, treatment related costs and ongoing supportive care associated with traumatic brain injuries can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The financial hardships these types of medical expenses cause can be intensified by partial or total disability from employment. While those injured when scooters and cars collide might have a valid claim for monetary compensation from negligent parties, our Atlanta Scooter Accident Lawyers have seen the consequences when those with personal injury claims procrastinate in obtaining legal representation.

The recent dismissal of a personal injury lawsuit serves as a cautionary tale regarding the need for legal representation to avoid having one's legal claim derailed by legal technicalities that have nothing to do with the merit of one's personal injury claim. While this recent scooter accident occurred in another state, the fundamental issues are similar.

A law enforcement officer allowed a civilian unfamiliar with the operation of the vehicle to drive the scooter according to the lowellsun.com news report. The civilian tipped the scooter and suffered a serious head injury. He remained in a coma for two weeks after falling on the scooter, and part of his skull had to be removed to relieve the pressure on his brain. After several weeks in intensive care, he spent another month in a hospital followed by three months at a rehabilitation facility.

The civilian filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city seeking $5 million in damages. When the injury victim traveled over a sewer grate, he fell and slammed his head onto the asphalt. The lawsuit alleged that the officer "negligently allowed the plaintiff to use the motorized scooter without proper protection and proper instruction" according to the news report. However, the lawsuit was eventually dismissed for reasons that had nothing to do with the fault of the city for the actions of its employee (the officer).

Under the law of the particular state where this scooter accident occurred, an injury victim is required to submit a form called a "presentment" letter before suing a municipality. A similar type of requirement exists in other states like Georgia that prescribe special deadlines and notice requirement for suing a public entity. These laws are generically referred to as "governmental tort claims laws." The version of the law at issue in this case required both that the notice be provided within two years for the date of the accident and that the claimant allow six months to elapse after the notice before filing a lawsuit to allow the municipality sufficient time to prepare for litigation.

Because the injury victim filed his lawsuit only two months after suffering his injury, his lawsuit was dismissed for filing the lawsuit against the municipality too soon. The devastating impact of this procedural mistake meant that the scooter accident victim was left without financial recovery despite months of medical care and almost a half a million dollars in medical bills. This tragic outcome serves as a reminder that the legal process is subject to strict procedural rules and deadlines so it is important to have legal representation to avoid critical mistakes that can derail meritorious claims.

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If you have been injured in a scooter accident or other incident, including those where the negligence of a public entity may have contributed to your injury, you should seek immediate legal advice regarding applicable procedures and timelines. Our Atlanta personal injury Attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.