Hoverboards have recently become very popular recreational devices for children and young adults alike. Reports of fiery explosions and other hoverboard malfunctions has become more frequent, despite manufacturers downplaying the danger. While some retailers instituted product recalls, controversy over hoverboards has continued to swirl.
Often described as part-skateboard, part-scooter and part-Segway, hoverboards are battery-powered, two-wheeled riding devices. Unlike a Segway, however, hoverboards do not offer a handlebar to brace an unsteady user. Hoverboards also differ in that they often rely on weight sensing switches, while a Segway uses gyroscope technology in order to stay balanced. In February of 2016, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) declared that no hoverboard – regardless of make or model – is considered safe. According to our Ocean Township personal injury lawyers, the government’s position sends a strong message which may have come too late for those already injured by a hoverboard.
As a result, hoverboard riders are essentially at the mercy of an unpredictable and uncontrollable device, with little or no ability to protect themselves in the event of a fall. To that end, although explosions may generate more unwelcome headlines for hoverboards, a far more likely scenario for injury has emerged. Riders becoming injured after falling from a hoverboard has become so commonplace in emergency rooms, some doctors refer to hoverboard accidents as an epidemic. Because hoverboards can travel at speeds of up to 10 mph, a tumble can cause lasting physical damage. Hoverboard falls have resulted in:
Moreover, the risk of an exploding hoverboard remains real and should not be underestimated. The CPSC says the lithium-ion batteries that are used to power a hoverboard are often to blame as they can overheat while charging or during prolonged use. The resulting explosions and fires have caused two million dollars worth of damage in the United States alone, and have already spawned at least two lawsuits – one of which is a purported class action.
Although some accidents will inevitably be the fault of a consumer, the CPSC believes that not all hoverboard injuries are attributable to user error or inexperience. Different designs and different user weights can lead to lurching or stalling that might catch riders off-guard, according to government officials. In light of their concerns over injuries and explosions, the CPSC has urged manufacturers and retailers to voluntarily suspend all sales of hoverboards until the independent testing firm Underwriters Laboratories can certify them as safe.
Hoverboard manufacturers have a duty to consumers and not just their bottom line. When a product is placed in the stream of commerce it must be safe, free of defects and capable of being operated as intended. If you or a loved one has been injured in a hoverboard accident, our Ocean Township personal injury lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. will aggressively pursue compensation on your behalf. Contact us online or call 732-493-9400 to schedule a free consultation at our Eatontown, New Jersey offices, where we proudly serve clients in Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, Mercer County and the New Jersey towns of Long Branch, Asbury Park, Middletown, Ocean Township, Freehold, Wall, Belmar, Sea Girt and Neptune.