Who is Legally Responsible for Hoverboard Injuries?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Jan V. Hinson with Tilton & Tilton LLP.
Hoverboards, also known as self-balancing scooters and two-wheel boards, have become a notable part of skate culture, particularly with youth and young adults. However, these devices have presented significant hazards since the beginning of their production. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), at least 250 hoverboard incident reports were related to overheating since 2015, resulting in 2 deaths and 16 injuries from fires alone, not to mention the property damage related to hoverboard fires. However, catching fire is not the most prominent risk posed by these boards.
From 2015 to 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics recorded more than 26,000 emergency room visits from children who were injured on hoverboards, primarily from falling and collisions. These hoverboard fires, falls, and collisions are thought to be largely caused by defects in the design of some of these devices, although the falls and collisions may also be caused or contributed to by user error or third party negligence, such as a driver who doesn’t check behind their vehicle before reversing. In any situation where someone is injured fully or in part due to a defective or dangerous product, the manufacturer may be considered liable for resulting damages.
The hoverboard manufacturer may be liable for any resulting injuries if their product is defective.
Hoverboards are produced by a variety of manufacturers, each with their own unique design. For this reason, some hoverboards may be more or less safe than others, and some models from certain manufacturers have already been recalled, primarily for fire and explosion hazards. However, even models that have not been recalled could contain serious defects, including design, manufacturing, and warning defects.
- Design defects occur when anything about the hoverboard’s design makes it inherently dangerous.
- Manufacturing defects occur when an error in the manufacturing process makes a safely designed board dangerous to ride. For example, using the wrong parts, poor electrical wiring, etc.
- Warning defects arise when a company fails to provide adequate safety warnings and instructions for safe use to consumers.
If one or more of these defects caused or contributed to a user’s injury, the manufacturer may be liable in court for resulting damages via a product liability claim. Damages that may arise after a hoverboard accident include but are not limited to medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.
If you were injured by a defective hoverboard, do not throw it away.
Whenever a product causes injury to you or a loved one, it’s important to maintain possession of that exact item until it can be analyzed by product liability experts. Product manufacturers including those that design and create hoverboards are required to abide by certain rules and regulations designed to ensure consumer safety. When a manufacturer is negligent in any part of the production process and an injury occurs, they could be considered legally responsible. In addition to keeping the hoverboard stored somewhere safe and out of use (do not leave it plugged in or charging unless you are supervising it the entire time), it’s a good idea to take pictures of the product and any resulting damages, including burned or damaged property and injuries.
Additionally, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible, even if the injury seems minor at first. Some injuries may not be felt until days or even weeks after the fact, but waiting to seek care can weaken your claim. After these steps it’s a good idea to contact a product liability attorney to discuss your case; a product liability attorney can help evaluate your case at no cost to decide what your options for recovery are. Additionally, most product liability attorneys work on contingency, which means you won’t have to pay for their services unless you win your case.
To learn more about hoverboard injury cases, or to discuss one of your own, reach out to an experienced product liability attorney in your area.