Hoverboard Injuries and Fires Could Lead to Lawsuits
You may have seen videos and read stories about the dangers of hoverboards. Yet, hoverboards are all the rage today. Celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Mike Tyson use hoverboards. Social media and celebrity exposure helped make hoverboards a popular holiday item this year. But these devices have been in the news lately for negative reasons. From fires and explosions to falls and collisions, hoverboard injuries are on the rise.
Red self-balancing two-wheeled board with a person standing on it” by Soar Boards (www.soarboards.com) is licensed under CC BY 2.0
A hoverboard is a ride-on balancing board with two wheels. Unlike in movies, hoverboards do not actually levitate. Hoverboards are hands-free and riders control it with pressure applied by their feet. The devices run on battery power and have a maximum speed of anywhere from 5mph to 12mph depending on the model. Several companies sell hoverboards which range in price from $300 to over $1,000. When hoverboard manufacturers use cheap lithium ion batteries, it can have dangerous consequences.
Faulty lithium ion batteries used in hoverboards can explode and start a fire. As of January 1st, 2016, 22 hoverboard fires were reported in 17 states. Some fires started while the hoverboard was charging, others while it was in use or even idle. Videos have surfaced showing hoverboard fires, including one that took place in a mall. In some cases, the fires have caused serious damage. One hoverboard fire destroyed a home in Louisiana.
Many products like cell phones and laptops contain lithium ion batteries. These products rarely explode because they have to follow safety standards. No safety standards are currently in place for hoverboards since it is a relatively new product. Therefore, the lithium ion batteries used in hoverboards can be faulty.
Exploding hoverboards have led airlines to ban them from flights. Retailers like Amazon have stopped selling some hoverboard brands. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched an investigation to find the root cause of hoverboard fires. No single hoverboard company is responsible for the fires. The CPSC must test multiple brands at its facility in Maryland to find the cause of the explosions.
Currently, there are two known hoverboard lawsuits. An Alabama couple whose device caused a fire in their home is suing the hoverboard retailer. A New York man whose hoverboard also caused a fire is suing the hoverboard maker Swagway. He is also suing retailer Modell’s Sporting Goods where he purchased the device. More lawsuits may be filed in the future as hoverboards increase in popularity.
Hoverboards cause dozens of injuries. Most injuries aren’t related to fires, but rather falls or collisions. Hoverboard injuries include fractures, concussions, strains or sprains, and contusions or abrasions. It’s not just kids who are getting injured. Adults are suffering injuries from hoverboard falls and collisions as well. As of December 28th, 2015, the government had received 70 hoverboard-related injury reports. The spike in injuries can be attributed to people receiving hoverboards as holiday gifts. One New Jersey hospital saw 14 hoverboard injuries on Christmas Day alone.
Ride-on toys like scooters and bikes cause the most toy-related injuries. Hoverboards can now be added to that list.
Hoverboard Safety Tips
- Don’t overcharge a hoverboard.
- Do not charge a hoverboard directly after riding it. Give it time to cool down first.
- Charge and store hoverboards in an open dry area away from combustible items.
- Do not charge hoverboards overnight, when you are away from home, or when you can’t observe it.
- Wear the same protective gear you would wear skateboarding, biking, or rollerblading. Always wear a helmet!
- Be careful who you buy your hoverboard from. Buy hoverboards from a reputable dealer. Make sure you know who to contact in case of a problem.
- Check to ensure a national testing lab like Underwriters Laboratories certified your device.
- Stay off streets and away from vehicles while riding a hoverboard.
- Have a spotter help you get on and off the hoverboard, especially if you are inexperienced.
- Avoid riding a hoverboard if you are susceptible to a fracture based on age or health.
Hoverboard Injury Lawyers
When you buy a product, you expect it to be safe. A hoverboard with defects or faulty parts shouldn’t be on the market. If you or a loved one suffered an injury because of a hoverboard defect, fire, or explosion, you deserve compensation for your injuries. A product liability lawyer can investigate the defect that led to your injury and fight for your rights. Do not hesitate to contact a defective product attorney at Kane & Silverman to discuss your claim. Please call us at 215-232-1000 or fill out our contact form online.