SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) — A group of people claiming to have been injured by e-scooters are suing several companies saying they are “aiding and abetting assault” by failing to protect the public from injury.
The lawsuit, filed last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, also accused Bird, Lime, Xiaomi United States and Segway of “gross negligence.”
One of the eight initial plaintiffs, 62-year-old David Petersen, told CBS2 News he was struck from behind by a person riding one of the scooters while he was performing on the Santa Monica Pier. He dances on the boardwalk as Davy Rocks.
“I went to the emergency room the next day, and I had a broken arm, and my right bicep was actually severed from my lower arm. It had to be surgically reattached,” Petersen said showing his scars. “I feel like I was assaulted, and if I’d have been attacked like that, it would have been a felony.”
Tina Ogata said she was walking out of the store with grocery bags when she tripped and fell over a scooter left on the ground. She broke her wrist and index finger.
Plaintiffs also include people injured while riding the devices.
“We’re seeing fractured orbitals [sockets], broken teeth, head injuries, loss of consciousness, fractured legs, fractured arms,” said attorney Catherine Lerer. Her co-counsel Jeffrey Lee Costell told CBS2 they’re not trying to get the machines banned. “We’re seeking to make them safe, and we’re seeking compensation for our clients.”
Lawyers also want the scooters to be insured and to have some type of identification.
Lime said the it was reviewing the lawsuit, saying the company “prides itself on taking proactive steps relating to safety wherever we have a presence.”
Bird responded, saying “safety is our very top priority and it drives our mission to get cars off the road to make cities safer and more livable.”
For Petersen, it’s too little too late. “I lost like three months of work, and my arm will never be the same,” he lamented.
The cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica have launched pilot programs that cap the number of scooters available within city boundaries. West Hollywood has banned them outright, while Beverly Hills put a six-month moratorium on them in July.
Online, social media accounts like birdgraveyard continue to deride the scooters, posting photos and videos of the devices being burned, destroyed and thrown into the ocean. Even The Daily Show’s resident crouch Lewis Black has given a signature profanity-laced tirade against the scooters.