A segway is known widely as being the primary mode of transportation for the goofy “Mall Cop” character Paul Blart. Segways, those two-wheeled, one-person motorized transportation devices, are typically seen as innocuous and easy-to-use, if a bit silly-looking. However, as recently reported by The Washington Post, summer Segway tours are increasingly popular throughout the country, including in Maine. But they pose dangers that might not be immediately obvious. As the Post reports, many tourists have suffered injuries as a result of Segway falls.
The Post detailed a case recently in which a reporter looked on as a group of four tourists tried out some final practice moves before heading out for a tour in Washington, D.C. However, one in the group crashed. The New Zealand tourist hit a small bump in the pavement, struck a wall with the handlebars, and then fell over onto the concrete. She immediately grabbed her knee in pain. She was helped into the building and later taken by ambulance to a local hospital. The reporter later learned she had suffered a broken leg and would need surgery upon her arrival back to New Zealand, which was going to occur much sooner thanks to the trip being cut short. In an email, her husband called it “a silly accident.”
However, as our attorneys know, these incidents may actually be a bit more complicated than that, both from a causation and liability standpoint. In fact, these devices may be more complicated to operate than they might appear at first blush. Currently, there are cases pending – some of them multi-million dollar claims – that involve injuries from falls off Segways.
Many people sign up for Segway tours in the summer. For example, at Sugarloaf Mountain Resort, summer Segway tours are $20 for 20 minutes and $60 for a guided 90-minute tour on the Sugarloaf trails. The company’s website stipulates that all riders are required to sign a waiver of liability, which could undermine any future claims. However, not all waivers of liability will stand up in court, so it’s often still worth talking to an injury lawyer if you get hurt on a Segway, especially if your injuries are serious.
Many providers require riders to be of a certain age, and helmets are also necessary. Top speed on the devices is typically 12.5 miles per hour, although some municipalities have been known to cap their speed limit at 10 mph.
Although these machines may be commonly used without much issue by security in airports, malls, and other settings, much of the danger arises from inexperienced users who may not understand the risk or who may not receive adequate training before heading out to use them at full speed.
A study conducted by doctors at George Washington University’s Hospital Emergency Room reported that over the span of three years, 41 people were reported injured just at that one hospital alone. Of those who were hurt, 25 percent had to be admitted to the hospital. Some of those suffered traumatic brain injuries. Median costs for those stays were $25,700.
If you are a victim of a Bangor car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-490-5218 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Summer’s here, and so are the Segway tourists. Understand the risks before rolling out., June 8, 2017, By Fredrick Kunkle, The Washington Post
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