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After Paying $1.7 M In Segway Crash Case, San Diego Looks At Segway Tour Insurance

Not many people may realize this, but those Segway tours that we commonly see throughout southern California are not always covered by insurance from the tour operator. In other words, sightseers may have to rely on their own resources if their Segway trip ended in a crash. And we’re all aware that Segways and other two-wheeled motorized scooters can be accident-prone.

This landscape may very well change in San Diego, as the City Council is discussing a proposed ordinance that would create more rules for Segway tour companies. Among these rules would be new safety procedures and a requirement to maintain multi-million commercial liability insurance.

Officials brought up this proposal after the City paid a settlement of $1.7 million to a woman who was injured in a Segway crash in La Jolla. The case involved a Segway tour operator that didn’t provide liability insurance for their injured customer, which means it didn’t contribute any amount to the settlement.

What would this ordinance mean for those who were injured in a Segway tour accident? Let’s look at some implications.

Proposed New Rules For Segway Tour Operators

Under the proposed ordinance, Segway tour companies in San Diego would have to meet these requirements:

  • Obtain a special permit to operate.
  • Maintain commercial liability insurance:a minimum of $2 million per case and $4 million per year.
  • Require tour guides to have a driver’s license.
  • Conduct on-site training for all customers/riders before each tour.
  • Require riders under 18 to be accompanied by an adult.
  • Prohibit intoxicated persons from riding.

If enacted, these new policies would open up more legal avenues for you if you were injured in a Segway tour. Firstly, you would be able to make a claim against the tour operator’s liability insurance, improving your chances of receiving your maximum compensation. In addition, you could potentially strengthen your claim if you could establish that the company violated other rules, such as by employing a tour guide without a driver’s license.

What You May Be Compensated For

In a Segway crash, as in other accident cases, there are two types of damages for which you may claim compensation. One is economic damages – those that have a clear monetary value such as your medical costs, rehabilitation expenses, and lost wages. The other is non-economic, referring to damages that are less quantifiable but nevertheless recognized as real losses. Examples of this are pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

The La Jolla Segway crash case illustrates how you can be compensated for both types of damages. The woman who was injured, Regina Copabianco, sustained a shattered pelvis that required surgery to screw in metal plates. She stated that she had to rely on a wheelchair to get around and that she needed intense physical therapy. She also couldn’t perform her full-time job. All in all, her expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering amounted to a claim of $1.5 million.

But in addition to these, her husband was involved in the lawsuit because her injuries damaged their marriage. Specifically, the claim included damages such as loss of companionship and loss of consortium (in legal terms, “consortium” refers to physical relations with one’s spouse). These damages were valued at an additional $200,000, leading to the total amount of $1.7 million.

As you can see, it is important to explore all areas in your life affected by your injury, not just your immediate medical bills. To determine the maximum amount you may be entitled to, consult with a lawyer who is experienced in injury claims.

Potential Liable Parties In A Segway Accident

Another important aspect in the La Jolla Segway case is how the injured was able to receive compensation from the City of San Diego. A government entity can indeed be one of the parties liable to pay in an injury case. Here are some potential liability scenarios involving various parties:

  • Product liability. Segway is only one of the several makers of motorized scooters or two-wheeled mobility devices. Any manufacturer of these devices may be held liable if it is established that their product was defective and led to an injurious accident.
  • Premises liability. If you were legally riding a scooter within someone’s property – say, a parking lot or a driveway – and this property had a dangerous condition that caused you to crash, you may consider a premises liability claim against the property owner.
  • Claims against the government. Certain government offices or agencies are tasked to keep public spaces safe. If an agency failed this task, leading to the public risk that caused your accident, you may bring a claim against them. The City of San Diego has actually had to pay many individuals who were injured on our city’s broken sidewalks and poorly maintained streets.
  • Claims against the tour operator. If the proposed ordinance becomes law, San Diego Segway tour riders would be able to file a liability insurance claim against the tour company involved in their accident. However, in the present, if you believe that your tour operator should be accountable for significant damages, talk to an attorney about your existing legal options such as a lawsuit.

Identifying all responsible parties in your accident case can maximize your sources of compensation. Don’t be afraid to consider even powerful parties such as government entities and large companies. With the help of a competent and fearless lawyer, you may be able to build a strong, effective case against those responsible.

You can start simply by talking about your accident with your trusted attorney. You can get a free initial consultation where you’ll learn about your best next steps forward.


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