UPDATE April 15, 2016

And as fast as they became a trend, they became obsolete. Hoverboards were all the rage during the holidays, but have you seen them around lately?

After colleges began to regulate them, they were banned in public places and were pulled off of retailer’s shelves, the trend began to die out. Unfortunately for them, a large percentage of hoverboard buyers were college students; and when you cannot use them on college campuses, at the mall, or specific public areas, there is no reason to purchase the toys.

In December of 2015, every major airline banned the hoverboard due to fire hazards caused by faulty batteries. After that, universities began to ban them from dorm rooms and using the devices on campus due to fire concerns as well as the safety of students. Amazon has also discontinued selling them and offered full refunds for customers. Target, Walmart, and Toys ‘R’ Us followed suit and stopped selling hoverboards in their stores. The hoverboards are still available on eBay.

It gets worse for the hoverboard. Recently on March 17th, the U.S. International Trade Commission called for a ban on all hoverboard imports to the U.S. that infringe on patents of Segway, the creator of the original self-balancing scooter. Any that try to pass will be blocked by U.S. customs. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has also demanded retailers abstain from selling the devices unless they comply with UL 2272, a safety certification written specifically for the hoverboard. No hoverboard has acquired the safety certification to date.

Since last December, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has received over 60 reports of hoverboards exploding, smoking, or bursting into flames as a result of the lithium-ion batteries. Between January 1st and February 17th, the commission received reports from customers in 24 states of 52 hoverboard fires that caused more than $2 million in property damage, including the destruction of two homes and a vehicle.

It also estimates that hundreds of injured have been sent to the hospital after suffering from hoverboard accidents. Injuries could be as little as a couple of bruises, or victims hurt from a severe head injury. In fact, the commission has been tracking the number of reports of injuries as a result of using a hoverboard and the number grew so large, they could no longer keep track. Hospitals were receiving as many as 12 patients suffering from falling injuries or other serious injuries while using the hoverboard.

Just a few months ago hoverboards were in every kiosk at the mall and now, after severe regulations, they are a rare sight to see.

If you or a family member had a hoverboard accident and became injured, or your hoverboard has malfunctioned and caught fire, you may still be able to file for a product liability claim. As personal injury lawyers in Central New York, we have the knowledge and understanding of how a lawsuit like this would work. We will do what is right for you. Call The People’s Lawyer for a free consultation today. For more information on hoverboard injuries please read our original blog on the topic found below…

 

Original Blog February 5, 2016

 

Last year’s must-have holiday gift was without a doubt the hoverboard. Essentially a glorified Segway, the hoverboard is an electric-powered self-balancing scooter; and contrary to its name, does not actually hover. Though they are trending with children and teens, these machines can be extremely dangerous. With nothing to hold onto, hoverboards are difficult to use and cause many hard falls for its users. However, the falling injuries are not even the worst of it. These hoverboards have also been discovered to be susceptible to catch on fire while charging. These “children’s toys” are anything but child’s play.

 

What type of injuries do hoverboards cause?

By now, you have seen the hashtag, #HoverboardFails, filled with hundreds of videos of (mostly adults) falling off of (their children’s) hoverboards. Even boxing champion Mike Tyson wasn’t immune! Many of the falls look like they HAD to hurt. But what kind of injuries are common?

Falling injuries have ranged from mild bruises to concussions. Emergency Rooms are full of serious injuries including broken bones and head injuries caused by the toys, some even need stitches from their fall. There have been reported over 77 emergency room visits due to hoverboard accidents as of the end of December 2015 and the number is constantly growing.

However, it is not just falling injuries that have been occurring. Hoverboard accidents also involve crashing into objects and other people. You do not have to be a hoverboard owner to be hurt by one. As a result, hoverboards are presently banned in New York City and the U.K.

If you are injured by a hoverboard, it is a good idea to seek medical attention if you…
Lose consciousness after hitting your head;
Suffer from prolonged headache after a crash; or
Experience the feeling of numbness or tingling following the accident

If the fall risks are not enough, there have been numerous other reports of hoverboards being prone to catch on fire while charging. When left unattended, the battery could overheat and catch on fire. In Melbourne, Florida, a hoverboard owner claims she plugged the device in for 10 minutes before the entire house was engulfed in flames. Fires have also occurred in malls and retailers where the product is sold. Due to this uncertainty, many popular airlines including American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines have also banned hoverboards from both carry-on and checked luggage.

 

After suffering injuries and damages due to a hoverboard, do I have a case?

A product liability claim may be tackled in a variety of ways. Basically, it boils down to if the product had a type of defect; whether it be a design defect – the design itself was flawed, manufacturing defect – the product was assembled incorrectly, or a warning defect – the product failed to warn users of possible dangers and malfunctions. In order to establish a case, you must be able to prove that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer, no significant changes were made to the product before it reached the buyer, the defect made the product unsafe, and the defect caused the harm and damages.

Complicating the situation further, most hoverboards are made in China by a hodgepodge of manufacturers. Owners could file a lawsuit against the manufacturers directly, or the retailers where the product was bought, depending on the state law. In New York, you are able to sue the retailer where you purchased the product for negligence.

Recently, Michael Brown of Chappaqua, NY filed a lawsuit against the hoverboard company Swagway and sporting goods retailer Modell’s when his hoverboard caught on fire after just 30 minutes of use. He claims the hoverboard brand failed to warn him of the possible combustion issues and the retailer Modell’s failed to follow appropriate steps to ensure the product was safe for its consumers. Swagway claims the product passed all safety standards, however, various retailers, like Amazon and Overstock.com, in December 2015 have decided to stop selling most of the brand’s hoverboard product line due to its increasingly hazardous reputation.

Nevertheless, hoverboard companies will attempt to prove the user’s negligence. If the rider is careless and speeding through the street when he or she was injured, failed to read and follow instructions, and rode the hoverboard where it is prohibited, the consumer could be at fault for his or her own injuries.

 

I already bought a hoverboard for my child, so how do I use it safely?

Here are 6 ways to help stay safe on a hoverboard:

Wear protective gear – helmet, knee pads, etc.
Treat the hoverboard like you are riding a skateboard or bicycle. Wearing a helmet, elbow and knee pads is a good idea when using a hoverboard.
Closely supervise children. Do not leave children unattended when using this device. Keep an eye out if they need you.
Don’t ride alone. It is a good idea to have a spotter while hoverboarding, especially when first learning how to use the product. Have someone around in case you fall and are unable to get help.
Take it slow. The product is a balancing device and is difficult to use at first. Do not expect to do handstands on your first try. Start off slowly, learn how to go forward and stop before mastering turns and moving backwards.
Stay away from traffic. Hoverboards are challenging to control and can result in a fall just about anywhere, so it is a good idea to stay away from traffic while using them.
Do not leave the product unattended while charging. The hoverboard is not a cell phone. Keep a watchful eye while you are charging the device.

 

If you or someone you know suffered from a hoverboard injury or damages caused by the product since the holidays, it is a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer to gain a full understanding of your rights. Contact Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi and Pearlman for a free consultation today.

 

Tags: Products Liability

 

Sources: http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-pulls-hoverboards-over-safety-concerns/

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