Segway: Accidents, Liability and Remedies for Victims [Updated 2022]
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.”
What Injuries Can a Segway Accident Cause?
Segways are susceptible to collisions with motor vehicles, along with dangerous defects. People who are injured while riding a Segway are frequently admitted to a hospital, oftentimes with traumatic head and face injuries. Segway-related injuries can include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head, neck, and back injuries
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Disfiguring injuries & scars
- Serious scrapes or cuts
To reduce the risk of sustaining a serious head or neck injury in a Segway crash, it’s advisable to wear a helmet while operating the vehicle.
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.
Who is Liable for a Segway Accident?
Proving liability after a Segway accident can be challenging. The device’s manufacturer is unlikely to claim responsibility and may even claim that unsafe or improper use of the Segway caused the incident. However, manufacturers may still liable for damages caused if it can be proven that a dangerous risk or defect existed and was not appropriately addressed. If you or a loved one were struck by a driver, the motorist may be responsible for the accident.
A third party could also be responsible for the accident. As an example, say a tourist decides to take a Segway tour while on vacation. The tourist, who is not provided a helmet and who has never used a Segway or similar vehicle before, is encouraged to drive over uneven terrain by the tour guide. The tourist falls, strikes their head, and suffers a serious brain injury. The tour company may be liable for the victim’s injury, since their negligence directly resulted in the accident.
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 New Haven personal injury attorney to discuss your options and help better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.