British Holidaymaker Injured In Accident In The USA

Segway Crash In Florida

18.11.2010

Travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have expressed concerns about the number of injuries associated with Segways after being contacted by a man who was seriously injured in an accident in Florida, USA.

Ian Parkes broke his leg and ankle as he tried to ride the Segway through the town of Celebration near Orlando.

Mr Parkes was on an instructor-led guided tour when he went to drive up an open ‘U-shaped’ ground drain and lost control of the vehicle, leading to his foot becoming trapped between the gap created by the Segway’s wheels and handlebar column.

Now overseas accident experts at Irwin Mitchell are asking for more to be done to warn people of the potential dangers involved in Segway use.

The law firm’s calls come just weeks after James Heselden, the British owner of Segway Inc, died following a cliff fall while using a Segway. Former President of the USA George W Bush and journalist Piers Morgan have also been involved in accidents involving the machines.

Joseph Dawson of Irwin Mitchell is representing Mr Parkes. He said: 

Holidaymaker Warned He May Not Walk Properly Again Following Accident

Mr Parkes, from Brierley Hill in the West Midlands, was in hospital for a week following his accident in January. Doctors in Florida warned him that he might never walk normally again due to the extent of his injuries – he broke both his right tibia and fibula and fractured his ankle so severely that he needed to have pins and plates surgically inserted.

Joseph said:  "Mr Parkes was not given sufficient training or guidance by ZE Tours before taking control of the Segway and as a result he was not fully able to manage the machine and suffered a very serious injury. 

"Prior to the crash, Mr Parkes was a self-employed director at a heating and ventilation firm, but, as a result of his injuries, he has been virtually office-bound and has had to take on staff to perform the duties he had previously done, which has significantly impacted on his income.

"It is essential that this very worrying research is acted upon with increased training and supervision of those using the Segway, particularly those who are new to it. More long term research is also needed into the safety of the Segway."

Commenting on his ordeal Mr Parkes said: "I've had to go through months of physio to try and sort out the continuing problems with my ankle and leg, but improvements have been minimal and I still walk with a limp and struggle to walk for any length of time without suffering extreme pain. My doctors have said this may always be the case for me. And my business has suffered too as I’ve had to take on extra staff to do jobs I used to do myself.

He adds: "We'd booked a holiday to Florida for a bit of winter sunshine, to recharge our batteries so we could go back to work refreshed but instead our lives have been turned upside down.

"I am livid that I wasn’t given basic advice that could easily have prevented my accident. It has had such massive implications on my life and now I want an explanation as to how this was allowed to happen to me."

Joseph Dawson concludes:  “Due to his accident, Mr Parkes’s ability to maintain his standard of living has been drastically impaired. And doctors warn that he may never walk normally as a result of the accident.

"We hope to achieve justice, and answers for Mr Parkes, so he and his family can start to move on and rebuild their lives. And we want assurances that lessons will be learned so that future holidaymakers and others using the Segway are not put at risk in the same way."