Anyone who has been paying attention has likely encountered hoverboards. They were the hot new gift this holiday season and can be spotted at your neighborhood mall grocery store or even street corner. Children and adults alike are fascinated with the new gadgets, treating them more as fun toys rather than a serious alternative mode of transportation.
The problem is that the hoverboards aren’t all fun and games. Thousands of YouTube videos are devoted to cataloging the ways riders can hurt themselves on the hoverboards. Videos of people flipping and falling and slipping off the devices have accumulated hundreds of thousands of views. While some of these accidents are comical, others are quite serious. People can suffer broken bones, fractures and concussions due to the sudden and violent accidents involving hoverboards.
Beyond the accidents, another even more troubling danger of the hoverboards has become apparent: fires. Reports of fires related to hoverboards are on the rise, with the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announcing that it is investigating 22 such reported incidents. The fires occur while the boards are charging and even while the boards are in use. Several have caused damage not only to the boards and riders, but also the homes where the boards were being stored.
This combination of popularity and mounting reports of injury has led to the filing of the first lawsuits against hoverboard manufacturers. The suits claim that there are flaws in the designs of the hoverboards and that these defects can lead to serious harm to consumers. Experts say that while only a handful of such claims have been filed at this point, as injuries mount, they expect the number of reported lawsuits to rise quickly.
One area of concern for some consumers is that many of the hoverboard manufacturers are based overseas, often in China. Though that can make a product liability suit more difficult, it does not make them impossible. So long as these companies have assets in the United States (such as bank accounts or warehouses or suppliers), a claim for compensation can lead to payment of damages.
It’s important to note that a person injured on a hoverboard cannot file a lawsuit due to his or her own clumsiness. Instead, for a personal injury lawsuit to move forward, consumers will need to show that the hoverboard manufacturers or retailers are responsible for defective or faulty products that lead to harm or that the companies failed to warn consumers of clear dangers. If personal injury lawyers appear able to do this, many expect a flood of suits aimed at this burgeoning industry. The hope is that these suits force the industry to better police itself, increasing safety for everyone.
If you have any questions or concerns about a hoverboard you recently purchased or for any other legal issues you may have, please call the personal injury lawyers at Kilpatrick & Philley, PLLC, at (601) 856-7800.
Source: “It’s just the beginning for hoverboard lawsuits,” by Heather Kelly, published at Money.CNN.com.