Bird scooter crash leaves Los Angeles man paralyzed; lawyer warns riders to beware of legal fees

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A man has sued the city of Los Angeles claiming a broken sidewalk was the cause of an accident he suffered while riding a Bird scooter, which left him paralyzed.

So he was surprised to get a letter from the scooter company saying he owed them a third of a million dollars.

How did it all happen?

“It’s a life-changing accident,” said Daniel Peña. “I have good days and I have bad days.

Peña was left paralyzed after the accident three years ago. He was driving to a job interview on a Bird scooter on the sidewalk of La Brea.

Peña and his lawyer said the broken sidewalk caused him to lose control. He hit his head against a tree.

“The doctors said I wouldn’t walk or maybe I wouldn’t walk anymore,” Peña said.

In the lawsuit, there are photos showing that the pavement is three inches uneven. He claims there is also trash and debris, which is dangerous.

“It is also one of the bases of the lawsuit. There was a lack of maintenance of the tree which was owned and controlled by the city and the state of the sidewalk,” said Peña’s attorney, Gabriel Avina.

Avina said that as part of its deal with the city of Los Angeles, the scooter company – Bird – is supposed to protect the city from lawsuits. In a letter, attorneys for Bird say Peña now owes the company $322,000 in legal fees.

Peña’s lawyer said it was in the fine print when we rented a scooter.

“It’s the type of contract where a person has a phone app and just checks boxes, and few know that one of those boxes says maybe we’ll sue you, even if it has nothing to do with the incident,” Avina said.

It comes as a UCLA study said injury rates for some electric scooter riders are higher than those on motorcycles.

LEARN MORE | Injuries from electric scooters could exceed those from motorcycles, new study finds

The study involved people treated in emergency departments and outpatient clinics at UCLA.

We contacted Bird and the company issued a statement, which reads, “The accident and the injuries sustained by Mr. Peña are deeply regrettable and although Bird was not the cause of the accident, we hope that Mr. Peña will have access to the care he needs. . Bird is not suing Mr. Peña and has no intention of collecting money from Mr. Peña.”

For Peña, this is good news.

“It’s a huge relief to my back and shoulders. I can feel it coming off of me,” he said.

The case against the city of Los Angeles is expected to go to trial this month.

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