They’re stylish, they’re the hottest thing on the market right now, and we’re sure there’s a “Back to the Future: Part 2” reference to be had here. In fact, 2,578,000 hoverboards were sold in the U.S. in 2015, which generated almost $1 billion in sales revenue. However, more than 70 injuries were reported by Christmastime last year. The hottest selling toy of the year also created yet another way for people to injure themselves.
Other than the obvious (falling off the hoverboard, which admittedly has created some hilarious fail-videos on YouTube) the toy itself has been found to spontaneously combust every once in a while. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has received 52 reports of hoverboard fires since Christmas, which caused a collective $2 million in damage. These new toys, as many seem to do, have created new lawsuit potential.
How Can I Prevent Hoverboard Accidents?
Believe it or not, there is a reason for the rash of hoverboard fires, and it doesn’t entirely have to do with faulty equipment; user error can be attributed to many of them. Charging the hoverboard is not like charging your phone, where you can plug it in and then go to sleep. Hoverboards have to be monitored while they are charging, and they can’t be kept plugged in once the battery is fully recharged. The battery is lithium ion, and when it is overcharged, it can overheat and short circuit, causing a fire.
Another way you can prevent fires is to just be careful with it. Don’t drop it or bang it against any sharp objects. There are many different brands that make hoverboards, and some use flimsy parts to put it together. If the battery is punctured in any way, a fire will start.
In general, hoverboards are a new product, which means there are a lack of safety regulations when it comes to the manufacturing of this new toy. Retailers are doing their best to only sell hoverboards that have passed safety standard tests, particularly when it comes to the packaging and securement of the battery.
What Legal Action Can I Take for Hoverboard Injuries?
Despite this newness of hoverboards, the liabilities to manufacturer and user alike are still under the umbrella of laws previously set forth that cover many other products. When it comes to the product, this is where we circle back to safety regulations and manufacturing guidelines.
Liability law can be rather cumbersome, but basically it ensures that should there be a defect in the product, the manufacturer will be held responsible. There can be a multitude of problems with a product, including design, manufacturing and warning defects. If there was a flaw in the design, the way it was made, or if there were inadequate instructions for the product’s use, these would be grounds for which a lawsuit can be filed.
It could be the case that you were injured by someone else riding a hoverboard. If they are riding in public down the sidewalk, and are going at a reckless speed or fail to observe any signs that there might be, you could be entitled to compensation if you are injured. Proving fault can be difficult, as factual evidence would be required in order to place guilt, which would be hard to do if hoverboards weren’t banned in the area and you can only guess how fast they were going.
The stories of hoverboards catching fire has caused many airlines to refuse to allow them on passenger flights, and the US Postal Service has even said it would discontinue shipment of the product. In the UK, more than 32,000 hoverboards were recalled due to safety issues. Proper maintenance and use of them are important, and if one you own should catch on fire or if you are injured riding one, there are options for you to be recouped of the damages.