British Teen Who Forgot to Buy Travel Insurance Faces $150,000 Medical Bill After Accident in United States

By Venus Upadhayaya, Epoch Times
June 8, 2019 Updated: June 8, 2019

A British teenager who forgot to buy travel insurance for her holiday in the United States faces a $150,000 medical bill over a brain injury she suffered in an accident in Los Angeles.

Karmen Curley, 18, was visiting her sister Sian when she fell off an electric scooter after hitting a pothole, according to an appeal on GoFundMe.

“After a long winter at University in America, my little sister Karmen flew out to meet me and three other friends from uni, for what was meant to be the trip of a lifetime traveling around the West Coast of California before heading home for the summer,” explained Sian in the fundraising appeal.

She said the group rented out a camper van for two weeks and their trip started out “amazing.” However, on their third or fourth stop, Karmen met with an accident.

“We decided to rent some electric scooters that everyone in the area was using. Karmen was riding up ahead when we saw her hit a pothole and come flying off over the front of her scooter,” wrote Sian.

The sister said she thought it was something minor but when she approached Karmen, she saw she was lying unconscious and was losing a lot of blood. She was immediately rushed to a hospital where she lay unconscious for more than eight hours.

“Various scans took place and we discovered that she is bleeding badly from the brain and had some broken bones including a broken collar bone, eye orbital, nose, and possibly hand,” wrote Sian.

She said in the appeal that since then her younger sister has been in the intensive care unit at a cost of $15,000 per day.

“Unfortunately Karmen didn’t get travel insurance before flying out to meet me and there are already medical bills of over $80,000 just for the past 3-4 days,” Sian said in the appeal posted on June 1.

The sisters lost their mother last year and Sian said the family is still paying for the funeral costs.

Electric Scooter Accidents

As stand-up electric scooters have rolled into more than 100 cities worldwide, many of the people riding them are ending up in the emergency room with serious injuries. Others have been killed. There are no comprehensive statistics available but a rough count by The Associated Press of media reports turned up at least 11 electric scooter rider deaths in the United States since the beginning of 2018. Nine were on rented scooters and two on ones the victims owned.

With summer fast approaching, the numbers will undoubtedly grow as more riders take to the streets. Despite the risks, demand for the two-wheeled scooters continues to soar, popularized by companies like Lime and Bird. In the United States alone, riders took 38.5 million trips on rentable scooters in 2018, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

Riders adore the free-flying feel of the scooters that have a base the size of a skateboard and can rev up to 15 miles per hour. They’re also cheap and convenient, costing about $1 to unlock with a smartphone app and about 15 cents per minute to ride. And in many cities, they can be dropped off just about anywhere after a rider reaches their destination.

But pedestrians and motorists scorn the scooters as a nuisance at best and a danger at worst.

Data on injuries or fatalities linked to scooters is hard to come by because the industry is so new. In Austin, Texas, public health officials working with the Centers for Disease Control counted 192 scooter-related injuries in three months in 2018. Nearly half were head injuries, including 15 percent that were traumatic brain injuries like concussions and bleeding of the brain. Less than 1 percent of the injured riders wore a helmet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Venus on Twitter: @venusupadhayaya
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