Segway: Accidents, liability and remedies for victims

Segways can lead to serious accidents and even death.

Segway tours are available throughout the country. These personal transportation devices can be found at historical monuments, big cities, college campuses and festivals as an easy way to tour an area. Although many enjoy these devices, Segway accidents can happen and have resulted in serious injuries and even death. Reports of the devices suddenly stopping, traveling backwards or otherwise malfunctioning are not uncommon.

Segway accidents and studies in the past: A history of concern

Perhaps the most iconic Segway incident involved the owner of the company, James Heselden. ABC News reported that in 2010, Mr. Heselden suffered fatal injuries after falling of a 30-foot cliff into a river while using a Segway.

A group of medical professionals also called the safety of these devices into question in an article published in the prestigious Annals of Emergency Medicine. The article, Serious Injuries Related to the Segway Personal Transporter: A Case Series , reviewed emergency department visits for victims suffering injuries connected to use of a Segway device. The researchers reviewed data spanning from April 2005 to November 2008 and found 41 cases of injury. Of this group, 40 percent of patients required admission to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Ultimately, the study found the risk of serious trauma due to the use of a Segway "significant."

Safety and the Segway: Liability waivers and insurance policies

In many cases, those using a Segway are taking part in a tour or other activity and are required to sign a waiver of liability before using the device. Whether or not the waiver will stand in court depends on the details of the provisions. In some cases, courts have found the waivers too broad and have not allowed them to stand.

Tour groups or other owners of Segways may have insurance policies to offer some form of protection. Esurance, an online insurance provider, notes that Segway coverage can include liability, comprehensive and collision, medical payment, optional equipment and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. These policies offer payments to help cover the costs of accidents, including injuries and property damage.

Segway and victims: Remedies are available

Even if an insurance policy is present, it may not provide enough compensation to cover the high costs associated with an accident. Those who are injured in a Segway accident may be eligible to receive additional compensation through a civil suit. This can lead to compensation to cover medical bills, rehabilitative expenses and lost wages. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options and help better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.