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A Connecticut man who was severely hurt in a Segway accident has won a $10 million verdict against the Segway scooter company.
Jurors announced their verdict Wednesday in John Ezzo's suit against Segway Inc. The New Hampshire-based company makes unique, two-wheeled personal transporters that riders control while standing and leaning in different directions.
Ezzo, 23, of Norwalk, Conn., suffered a traumatic brain injury in a Segway accident at Southern Connecticut State University in 2009, The Hour reports.
Segway company representatives had set up an obstacle course on campus called the "Segway Challenge," Ezzo's lawyer told The Hour. The "Challenge" was to steer a Segway through the obstacle course while blindfolded. Participants were not provided with helmets, Ezzo's lawyer said.
Ezzo took part in the "Challenge," but fell off the Segway scooter and hit his head on the ground. Ezzo suffered a traumatic brain injury, was forced to drop out of school, and now works as a handyman, his lawyer said.
Jurors likely considered all those factors in awarding their $10 million Segway accident verdict. The award is for non-economic damages such as physical and emotional pain and suffering, as well as Ezzo's permanent impairment, according to court documents.
In personal injury cases, jurors have discretion to determine how to compensate the injured party. Damages can be economic, to make up for provable lost wages or medical expenses.
Damages can also be non-economic like in Ezzo's case. In general, jurors can consider an injured party's age and how his injury will continue to affect him. Injuries that cause great and continuing pain, such as traumatic brain injuries, are often seen as deserving larger awards.
The fact that Segway ignored its own safety advice likely led jurors to find in Ezzo's favor. "It's a very simple case," Ezzo's lawyer told The Hour.
Segway company representatives declined to comment on the $10 million Segway accident verdict.
Ezzo's award comes more than a year after Segway Inc.'s owner, James Heselden, died in a separate Segway accident. Heselden rode a Segway off a cliff near his home in England; his body was found in a river.