The violent collision threw Jordan about 100 feet and left her with broken bones, rib fractures and a catastrophic brain injury, family members say. To relieve pressure on her swollen brain, doctors had to remove a large portion of her skull. Now, more than six weeks after the accident, Jordan remains in a persistent vegetative state and has begun having seizures, forcing doctors to return her to the hospital’s intensive care unit in recent days, family members say.
On Monday, Tracy Jordan announced plans to sue Lime — one of the world’s largest electric-scooter companies — on her daughter’s behalf for negligence, according to Todd R. Falzone, a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer representing Tracy Jordan as the guardian of her daughter. Falzone said Lime’s app includes language that specifically instructs people not to operate scooters on local sidewalks, pushing them onto city streets instead.
Many experts consider motorized scooters dangerous, and operating them on the street is against the law in Florida, although Fort Lauderdale does permit e-scooters to be ridden on sidewalks. Because Jordan followed Lime’s instructions, Falzone said, she avoided the sidewalk and was catastrophically injured.
“To this day they are telling users to break the law, and, as a result, people are doing that," Falzone said at a news conference Monday. “They are getting hit by cars, they are hitting pedestrians, they’re having all manner of accidents that shouldn’t be occurring.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “Ashanti is going to pay for this with her life.”
Lime did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit arrives about a week after a 21-year-old exchange student from Ireland was killed in an accident involving a Lime scooter and vehicle in Austin. Police said Mark Sands was traveling in the wrong direction on a Lime scooter on a busy downtown street in the early morning hours of Feb. 1 when he was struck by an Uber driver, leaving him badly injured. He was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center, where he died the next day, authorities said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is studying the health risks associated with e-scooters by analyzing injuries to riders and pedestrians in Austin over two months. Last week, a CDC spokesperson told The Washington Post that the study should be finalized in the spring. In Fort Lauderdale, where e-scooters arrived in November, high-profile accidents have made the devices hugely controversial, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“According to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, between Dec. 1 and Jan. 31, there have been 40 incidents involving scooters,” ABC affiliate WPLG reported. “A total of 31 of them required someone be transported to the hospital, and four of those were level-1 traumas.”
Falzone said the Jordan family is one of the most tragic examples of that crisis. If the company’s app is instructing people to violate local laws in one city, he said, riders in other cities could be at risk as well.
Falzone provided The Post with an image that he said came from the Lime app’s “rules and regulations." The rules — to which riders must “agree” to operate the scooter — included the following sentence: “Do not ride on the sidewalk.” In addition to being printed on the outside of the scooter, that same message appears three separate times in the app, Falzone said. He accused Lime of violating its operating agreement with Fort Lauderdale, which requires the company to inform riders how to safely and legally operate their scooters.
“I’m worried about people around the country who are riding these things and not understanding whether they’re supposed to be riding them on the street or on the sidewalk," he said. "You rely on the company to know the local rules.”
Falzone said his client is seeking compensatory damages that cover potential disabilities, mental anguish, hospital expenses, as well as long-term medical care and loss of income.
Before she was injured, Falzone said, Jordan was an outgoing woman with an independent personality, with lots of friends and a love of hip-hop. After high school, he said, she decided she wanted work construction, boldly inserting herself into a profession dominated by men. Despite her toughness, he said, she has always had a special connection with children, whether they were her four siblings or her neighbors.
In recent years, Falzone said, Jordan took a job in security at Broward General Medical Center, the same hospital where her mother works. The job allowed the two women to stay close, he said, but Tracy Jordan never expected to see her daughter admitted to their workplace as a patient.
At Monday’s news conference, Jordan said her daughter is still young, which could aid in her recovery. She remains faithful, she said, but reminders of her daughter’s suffering are hard to avoid on the streets of Fort Lauderdale.
“I just can’t even stand to see a scooter, it’s so traumatizing at this point,” she said. “I have to cover my eyes.”