The People vs. the 'Scooter' companies

Brian Spaller is a graduate student at UT studying Biochemistry.  One February evening he chose, as many do, a very popular form of transportation to get home.

"I rented one of the 'Jump' Uber scooters and started riding down Dean Keaton.  And I had noticed the light was not adjusted correctly, it was angled up a little bit too far," Spaller said. 

Spaller says he hit a pothole going through a crosswalk. "As soon as I hit the pothole, the scooter stops like dead in its tracks and then I fly off the front of the scooter and land on my right elbow," he said.  

Spaller got roughed up pretty bad but his elbow was really hurting.  So he went to the E.R. "They did some X-rays there and found two spots in the radial head of my elbow that were fractured."

Brian Spaller is suing Jump and his case is one of seven lawsuits filed by Austin attorney Jim Freeman. Bird, Lime and Jump are among the defendants.  

Freeman says the common theme is failure of the unit itself.

"The majority of the scooters have no suspension whatsoever, no springs, no shocks, no anything.  You take a bump, what happens?" Freeman said.  

"The scooter didn't give at all like most bikes would, they have some shocks or something that can absorb the hit but when the scooter hit the pothole it stopped dead in its tracks," Spaller said.

Freeman feels proper maintenance is a big problem with scooters as well.

He says the dockless mobility phenomenon presents some legal challenges. "We don't know where any of them are.  It's not like my client knows to bag and tag a scooter at the scene of the accident or that they can legally do so," he said.

Something else Freeman is dealing with: he says some companies want you to sue in California not in Texas. "My first legal battle is going to be to keep the cases here.  The way I see it, if you're going to come into our city and make money from our people and you hurt some people then you need to be accountable here," Freeman said.   

Why sue?  For Spaller, it's the medical bills.

"I'm hoping to at least get some of that back and help kind of recoup those expenses," he said.

"Surgeries, post-surgery infections that caused huge problems, large amounts of lost wages so these people are out of a lot of money," Freeman said.  

Spaller says he hasn't gotten on a scooter since his injury.  And by the way...a different story altogether, but that pothole is still there. "Still there. Yep. They still haven't gotten rid of it, it's been 5 months."

FOX 7 reached out to Bird, Lime and Jump. Jump says they can't comment on pending litigation. Lime said the same thing but added the "safety of our riders and community is our highest priority."