Injured While Scooting: Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

When you’re unexpectedly dispatched to a business meeting over a mile away from your place of employment, it might not really be feasible to go get your car, drive there, search for parking and attend the meeting on time. Given traffic conditions in many California cities, even getting there on time with a taxi might be thought of as ambitious. Why not just rent an electric scooter to get there?
JUMP scooters just arrived in Sacramento in 2019. Expect Lime, Spin, Bird and/or Uber scooters to be showing up in a city near you soon.

You can ride on the bike lanes that move faster than traffic lanes at that time of the day, and you can be at that meeting in 15 minutes or less. That’s what you decide to do. What happens on the way to the meeting? You start to take off from a red light when it turns green, and a car turning right turns into you and knocks you off of the scooter and onto the curb and pavement. You hit your face so hard that you don’t even know what happened. You’re never going to make that meeting. In fact, you’re not going anywhere for quite awhile.

Insurance

Once the ambulance arrives at the hospital, you’re taken to the emergency room, and you’re asked about your insurance. You don’t know whether the driver who hit you has insurance, and your insurance at work doesn’t trigger until 60 days from your date of being hired. You’ve only been working for this employer for six weeks, but there’s always workers’ compensation coverage. Don’t be so fast. Maybe there isn’t. It all depends on the employer’s policy on the use of e-scooters on or off of its property by employees during working hours.

The General Rule

In California, workers’ compensation insurance covers an employee who is injured in the course of his or her employment by an anticipated and foreseeable risk of that employment. It’s not going to cover you when you leave your home to go to work, and it’s not going to cover you once you leave the site of your employment to go home at the end of the day. It might cover you for injuries after you’ve been sent away from your work site to perform work-related activity. In your case, you were dispatched to attend a meeting at another location without prior notice when you were injured on the way there. That meeting certainly wasn’t on your schedule for the day.

What’s the Employer’s Policy?

E-scooters are so new to the transportation industry that there is no national data in existence on injuries or deaths involving them. Emergency room doctors from large hospitals report that they’re treating a dozen or so e-scooter accidents per week. Two years ago, these accidents were unheard of. As e-scooter use becomes more commonplace, look for employers to prohibit their use for purposes of the workplace.

You’re Lucky

Fortunately, your employer had no policy in place on the use of e-scooters during working hours, so it’s good news is that you’re likely covered under its workers’ compensation insurance. As e-scooters continue to proliferate, expect the number of accidents involving them to increase. Other than maybe a helmet, scooter riders are virtually unprotected and vulnerable to serious injuries that wouldn’t ordinarily occur when more conventional and safer forms of transportation are used.

Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

While some companies have large business campuses and encourage employees to use e-scooters, you can expect that some other companies will begin putting written policies into place that prohibit the use of e-scooters by employees on or off of the employer’s business premises during working hours. Workers’ compensation coverage is a mandatory cost of doing business anywhere in California. Employers want to keep that cost as low as possible. Expect to see e-scooter restrictions by more employers.

If you were injured while on the job anywhere in the Sacramento area, contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer today for a free consultation.