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.