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Kansas cop wants Segway, retailer to take accident blame

A police officer was hurt two years ago when he fell from a Segway scooter while on the job at the Kansas State Fair. The Hutchinson crash took place during the mid-September event as the officer was en route to a reported emergency.

While the injuries the officer incurred could have resulted in medical negligence by medical staff, the situation for this to happen never presented itself.

The accident occurred when the on-duty policeman said he pushed the speed of the Segway to the maximum as he raced to the fair emergency. The scooter crossed a bump, which apparently loosened the Segway's kickstand. The kickstand dug into the ground and vaulted the officer into the air. The fall caused the officer's helmet to crack and a can of mace to explode. Along with rib, neck and back injuries the officer also suffered a spray to the face of the attack-deterring aerosol.

The law enforcement official might have filed a workers' compensation claim and blamed his employer for negligence by issuing an unsafe work vehicle. Instead, the Hutchinson police officer brought a lawsuit against the scooter maker and the retailer who sold the Segway.

A $75,000 damage suit was filed apparently to recover expenses for the officer's medical bills and recovery, which may include lost wages.

The negligence lawsuit accuses Segway officials of knowing about its troubled kickstands but failing to warn riders of the hazard or fix the problem. Also named as a defendant in the civil action is the store where the Segway was sold.

Hutchinson Police Department officials are not included in the lawsuit, although it is possible the employer bears some responsibility for what happened. The injury accident occurred in the line of duty, which would cause most employees to file for workers' compensation benefits.

An investigator might ask whether the police department was responsible for the care, storage and maintenance of the Segway. Employees depend upon employers to provide safe rides in work vehicles, especially in unpredictable professions like police work.

Source: kwch.com, "Hutchinson police officer sues after Segway crash," Brian Heap, Oct. 4, 2012

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