INDIANAPOLIS, Ind -- An Indiana woman has filed a federal lawsuit after she says she was thrown from a Lime scooter in June.
Paula Speer says she was in a hospital for months after falling off a lime scooter near her home. Now she’s suing Neutron Holdings, Inc., the operator of Lime here in Indiana.
The 13-page lawsuit states on June 14, Speer was riding a scooter when she was “thrown from the scooter,” landed on the ground and hit her head.
“One of the reasons she probably suffered a brain injury was whether she was wearing a helmet or not. If she was wearing a helmet as Lime scooters require that may have lessened the chance of the traumatic brain injury,” says Dan Chamberlain, partner at the law firm Cohen & Malad. Chamberlain is not involved in the litigation but has expertise in the field.
The lawsuit doesn’t say if Speer was wearing a helmet. Lime requires them but does not supply them. Chamberlain says there is still a lack of accountability on the company when it comes to warnings.
“Like for example, wearing a helmet being over 18 years old, understanding the rules of the road, staying off the sidewalk. I mean they’re dangers, they go fast people don’t seem to appreciate that very much. And they do have mechanical difficulties on occasion," said Chamberlain.
Speer’s suit says her "injuries were directly and proximately caused by the failure to warn of dangers in the product as well as defects in the design and/or manufacture of the scooter in questions."
The suit lists several defects: the accelerator stuck, there was an unstable center of gravity, small wheels, and dangerous operation of brakes. Speer claims she operated the scooter precisely and that Lime failed to have any labels with dangers, warnings, or instructions.
Chamberlain says these are not the types of recreational scooters children ride; they're motorized, paid for by the public and dangerous.
“And the problem is the company that makes the profit on them has to make sure they are safe to use, they have adequate warnings, and that the product itself is not defective and unreasonably dangerous,” said Chamberlain.
Chamberlain says there are dangers in the way these scooters are designed.
“Here in this case in the event that there was a sudden acceleration and a sudden deceleration or a product defect in that scooter, then the company is 100 percent liable for the injuries,” said Chamberlain.
Lime users do receive a warning in the app with safety measures before they take off.
Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) say they’ve had to transport 204 people involved in scooter-related injuries in the last year.
Attorney Eric Pavlack is representing the family and is suing under the Indiana Product Liability Act. The lawsuit asks for compensation for family losses and damages. In the lawsuit, Pavlack accuses Neutron Holdings Inc., of negligence when it comes to maintaining safe and operational conditions.
In addition, Pavlack says the injuries and damages to Speer have caused her husband, Leonard Speer, “to suffer and continue to suffer the loss of consortium, love, care, companionship and affection.” Her husband is also listed as a plaintiff in the suit.
We’ve reached out to the Speers and Pavlack but have yet to hear back.
We also reached out to Lime. A spokesperson said, “While we can’t comment on active litigation, the safety of our riders and community is our highest priority."