Segway accidents are spurring increased injury litigation

segway accidentsIf you don’t know what a Segway is, just imagine a pogo stick with wheels. They are those upright personal vehicles that some security guards use in shopping centers. You’ve probably seen one before and thought “what a goofy vehicle.”

Segways became popular at the beginning of the new millennium but never really gained wide prominence or universal acceptance. The vehicle can be tough to operate, especially if a potential rider is not properly trained because a Segway can travel quite fast and it relies on a user maintaining perfect balance. Lacking experience, a Segway rider can take a tumble, and the resulting accident usually causes serious injuries to the rider.

Segway riders, like motorcyclists, have few safety measures (aside from wearing a helmet) that protect them in an accident. When the vehicle tips over or is out of control, they are taking the fall as well — and rarely is it a soft landing. Broken bones, severe physical harm and brain injuries are just a few injuries that could result from a Segway accident.

That’s why many Segway dealers have insurance to protect them when a potential buyer tests out the vehicle. It’s not an intuitive ride, and the first time is usually rough. Without insurance, a dealer could be sued if a customer is not properly trained before taking his or her first ride and they suffer injuries.

Another thing about Segways is their seemingly-unclassified nature in the legal realm. Is a Segway a motor vehicle, or akin to a bicycle? What about the person on the Segway: driver or pedestrian? Depending on how the Segway is viewed, it could be illegal to operate one on the sidewalk; someone could be charged with a DUI if they were intoxicated on one, and compensation in personal injury claims could vary.

Source: ABA Journal, “Attractive Nuisance? When Fun Factor Overshadows Risk, Lawsuits Are Sure to Follow,” ( April 1, 2012