Segway Accident Lawsuit Results in $10M Award for Brain Damaged Man
A Connecticut man has been awarded $10 million for a traumatic brain injury he suffered after falling off a Segway during a company-sponsored contest.
As part of a Segway, Inc. contest called “The Segway Challenge,” John Ezzo was required to ride the standing motorized scooter through an obstacle course while he was blindfolded and not wearing a helmet.
The contest was part of an event held to benefit the Special Olympics, which was held at Southern Connecticut State University on September 16, 2009.
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Ezzo fell backwards off of the scooter, hitting his head on the ground and suffering brain damage. As a result of the injury, he was forced to drop out of school and now works as a handyman.
Connecticut Superior Court jurors determined that Segway and two employees were negligent and liable for Ezzo’s injuries.
According to the complaint, Segway officials failed to bring helmets with them for the contest and Ezzo was encouraged to ride through the course blindfolded by Special Olympic volunteers.
Segway scooters are controlled by a software-guided network of sensors and control systems. It is designed to detect changes in terrain and body position.
In 2010, U.S. researchers warned that traumatic brain injuries were becoming increasingly associated with Segway accidents. Most of the injuries were of riders who failed to wear a helmet.
The study came out in September 2010, shortly after the death of Jim Heselden, the owner of the company that makes the Segway. Heselden, 62, is believed to have accidentally driven his own Segway off a cliff. His body was found in a river in northern England.
Traumatic brain injuries are one of the leading causes of death and permanent disability world wide, with 1.4 to 1.7 million people suffering a the head injuries each year. Such brain damage often result in a victim requiring extensive medical treatment and permanent around-the-clock care. Why the number of injuries has increased among minors was not known.
Photo courtesy of Gawrisch from Wikimedia Commons via CC 3.0
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