Before the Segway personal transporter was introduced in 2001, it was hailed as the future of transportation. While it has never quite replaced walking, biking, or driving, it is still a popular way for tourists to check out a new city. Unfortunately, just like any form of transportation, riders can be involved in an accident, resulting in serious injury or death.
While anyone can buy a Segway, most people experience them as part of a city tour. Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington D.C. all have Segway tour companies. During these one to two hour rides, participants get local knowledge and history, while riding around on new technology transportation. For most participants, it is their first experience riding a Segway. Some people find it difficult to control, while others become comfortable quite quickly. However, whatever their level of experience, any Segway rider can be injured in an accident.
Causes of Segway Accidents
There are a number of causes of Segway accidents. Most Segway riders operate on a public sidewalk, although some ride in the street. In public thoroughfare, Segway riders come across pedestrians, cyclists, cars, and stationary hazards. A negligent Segway rider, or another driver, can cause an accident, resulting in injuries to anyone involved.
Segway's us gyroscopic sensors, accelerometers, and motors to keep the device upright as a rider is moving. The rider can control the Segway by leaning forward or backward on the platform, shifting their weight to move the device. However, if a rider is inexperienced in controlling the Segway, they can easily fall off, or lose control of the machine causing an accident.
Segway accidents generally fall into 3 categories. Accidents can be caused by inexperienced riders, negligent drivers, or Segway malfunctions. Most Segway riders have no prior experience riding a Segway, which can lead to operating mistakes that result in an accident. Riders can go off the sidewalk, putting them in danger of getting hit by a car. Riders can crash into light poles, parked cars, or other stationary hazards, resulting in injuries.
Vehicle drivers may be unfamiliar with how a Segway operates, which makes it difficult to anticipate which way a Segway will move while on the road. Other drivers may not be on the lookout for these transportation devices, leading to a collision. Whatever the cause of a vehicle-Segway accident, the Segway rider is much more likely to suffer serious injuries. Segway riders have little to no protective equipment to keep them safe in an accident.
Segway Accident Injuries
According to one report, Segway riders are more likely to be admitted to the emergency room than pedestrians who are hit by cars. Riders can suffer traumatic head and face injuries, and in some cases, meet a fatal end. Between 2005 and 2009, more than 40 Segway riders were admitted to the emergency room at George Washington University. Almost a quarter of those required hospital stays, with some going to the intensive care unit.
Segway injuries can involve facial trauma, brain injuries, burns, and fractures of the arms, legs, ribs, or clavicle. However, even a low-speed accident can lead to a rider falling off the machine. Falling from a Segway can result in head, neck, or facial injuries. These accidents can also result in broken bones, lacerations, abrasions, and back injuries. With these minor accidents, the injured individual may not seek medical attention, thinking the injuries are only temporary. As with any neck or back injury, symptoms may get worse over time. A minor accident could lead to debilitating back pain a couple of days later.
Segway Injury Lawsuits
After a Segway accident, most people do not know where to turn for help. They may blame themselves for the accident. Even if they know they were not the cause of the accident, the Segway tour company may try and avoid responsibility by pointing to the waiver. However, even if the injured individual signed a waiver, it does not mean a negligent individual or company can avoid responsibility for the injuries caused.
If the Segway tour company did not take the time to properly train and instruct riders, they may be to blame for the injuries that result. In some cases, the Segway itself may have a design defect or malfunction that caused the rider to crash. Whatever the reason for the Segway accident, the injured rider should consider talking to an experienced personal injury attorney, to make sure they are compensated for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Segway Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in a Segway accident, you should talk to an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney about getting compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. You should not have to suffer due to someone else's negligence. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.