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D.C. Segway accident prompts N.Y. woman to file lawsuit

A Washington, D.C. Segway tour on the National Mall. (WJLA photo)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – A New York woman is filing a lawsuit for millions of dollars after a Segway sight-seeing trip around D.C. ended with a hospital stay, a foot-long scar and medical bills.

You no longer have to hoof it around the National Mall; when you want to see the sights, all you need is two wheels. But for New Yorker Jordana Casciano, the tour ended up being a monumental disaster.

Casciano shattered her elbow and spent three days at George Washington University Hospital after a Segway accident.

“The scar goes from, like, about here to about here this is the wire coming through my skin,” she said, outlining her injury.

For the first time, Casciano is speaking out about what happened last fall while she was on a tour with Bike and Roll D.C.

“Now, I was shown a safety video,” she said. “However, it did not address the fact that this machine, or these machines, can randomly just go rogue.”

That’s what Casciano says happened in a lawsuit she recently filed; she says her Segway went wild in front of the U.S. Botanic Garden, reversing out of control.

“The handle just fell forward and quickly whipped around, like a propeller,” she recalled.

Casciano was knocked to the ground and badly injured. Now, she is suing Bike and Roll D.C. for more than $5 million.

“I never would’ve taken that trip if I realized what the risk was,” she said.

ABC 7 News wanted to ask the company how it warns customers about potential risks, but a man from Bike and Roll D.C. told us to leave L’Enfant Plaza, where the tours stage. The company has refused to comment, although it is clear some safety steps are taken.

Tour riders get a lesson from Bike and Roll D.C. before they hit the road. Casciano got one, too, but her attorney, Greg Winton, says the lessons and warning she got were not enough.

“If it’s potentially hazardous and you don’t explain to me all of the potential hazards known to you—OK, reasonably foreseeable hazards—then that’s a failure to warn,” Winton said.

In the lawsuit, Winton says Bike and Roll D.C. didn’t warn the Casianos about something he thinks they should have known about—a prior recall involving Segways that causes them to unexpectedly reverse, causing falls. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission knows of at least six such injuries.

“We don’t want the business to go out,” Winton said. “We just want them to educate their people and be safer.”

Winton says Bike and Roll D.C. won’t say whether the Segway Casciano was riding was part of the recall, but he believes the company should have prepared her for something like this, anyway.

“I’m not in one piece anymore,” Casciano said.

Bike and Roll D.C. has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming there is a waiver of liability. But Winton says Casciano never signed one.

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