Visitor Question

Back injury from being run over by a minor on an electric scooter…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Orange City, Florida)

I was walking my dogs the evening of 12/28/2016, when we were run over by a child on an electric scooter. It was pitch black outside, and there were no lights on the scooter. I had complained to the staff of the apartment complex about this child riding all over the place on this scooter in a dangerous manner. She had no control of the scooter.

The apartment complex did nothing to stop this child from riding on the sidewalks in front of the apartments. When I did get hurt, I immediately contacted the office and the police. The police said they could not do anything because it happened on private property. The office said they would not give me the name of the child on the scooter.

I do not have health insurance, and I believe that I have permanent damage to my back. At first I thought I just had bruised ribs or something that would go away. Now I am in pain all the time, and it has limited my ability to work or lead a normal life. I have not been to see a doctor, because I do not have insurance.

What can I do? I think the apartment complex is at fault as much as the child is at fault, and I cannot afford to have my back checked out.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

The apartment complex owner may have some liability, especially as you previously reported the boy’s actions to the complex owner or to the management office.

Apartment complex owners are bound by the legal doctrine of Premises Liability. Property owners must do everything within reason to make sure their property is safe from dangerous defects or events which might result in injuries to others.

In this case, the apartment complex owner and/or the management office knew, or should have known the boy was riding the electric scooter at night without lights. As such, he presented a clear and credible danger to tenants and other persons legally upon the property.

It’s not clear if the management office previously contacted the boy’s parents and admonished them concerning the danger their son continued to present. If so, and the parents refused to cooperate, then the property owner’s liability will be minimized.

Unless there is a clause in the lease agreement prohibiting electric scooters from being driven without lights on the premises, the property owner would have had a difficult time evicting them.

Florida law regarding parental liability for property damage or injuries caused by minor children while driving is limited. Section 322.09 (2) of the Florida Statutes states in part:

“Any negligence or willful misconduct of a minor under the age of 18 years when driving a motor vehicle upon a highway shall be imputed to the person who has signed the application of such minor for a permit or license, which person shall be jointly and severally liable with such minor for any damages caused by such negligence or willful misconduct.”

Under this statute parental liability for acts of their minor children while driving on a highway would be unlimited. Unfortunately, the boy was riding on private property property when the injury occurred.

However, despite the qualification of the statute, you still have a legitimate negligence claim against the parents. The parents knew, or should have known their son was riding around the complex at night without lights on his scooter, and as a result, there existed a good chance the boy would injure himself or others. The parents failed to take appropriate action to stop the boy, and as result, your were injured.

Contact the boy’s parents and ask them to pay for your medical bills, medications, and lost wages (if applicable) while you are treating and recovering. If they refuse, and you want to pursue the claim, speak with a local personal injury attorney. The attorney may be able to pursue a case against the apartment complex owner (depending on liability) and the boy’s parent’s.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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