A Connecticut man has been awarded $10 million for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) he suffered after falling off a Segway during a company-sponsored contest. The two-wheeled upright personal transporter vehicles were introduced in 2001 to much fanfare and have recently started to be linked to serious injuries.
Earlier this month, a jury decided that New Hampshire based Segway Inc. and two employees were responsible for 23-year-old John Ezzo’s injuries in the accident, which occurred at a company demonstration of its two-wheeled vehicle at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven in September 2009.
Ezzo was injured during a competition called the ‘Segway Challenge,’ set up to benefit the Special Olympics. He fell backwards off of the scooter, hitting his head on the ground and suffering brain damage. As a result of his injuries, Ezzo was forced to drop out of college and now works as a handyman. According to the claim, Segway company officials failed to bring helmets with them for the contest, and they encouraged Ezzo to ride through the course blindfolded.
Study Reveals Segway Brain Injury
A 2010 study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine warned that traumatic brain injuries were becoming increasingly linked with Segway accidents. Most of the injuries sustained were from riders who failed to wear a helmet.
Coincidently, the study was released only days after the death of the owner of the Segway company. James Heselden, 62, died apparently after an accident involving a Segway he was riding, which skidded into the Wharfe River near his home in Yorkshire, England. His body was recovered from the river.
TBI in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, on average, approximately 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury annually in the United States. Of that number:
- 52,000 die
- 275,000 are hospitalized
TBI is a contributing factor to a third (30.5 percent) of all injury-related deaths in the United States.
If you or a loved one has experienced serious head or brain injury as a result of someone’s intentional act or negligent act, you may want to contact Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC to see how they can help protect your legal interests.