Since at least Black Friday and during the past holidays, hoverboards were the go-to gift. Thousands of these motorized self-balancing scooters were sold. However, they’ve proved to be a serious and very dangerous safety hazard, catching on fire while charging, exploding, and, consequently, causing fires in people’s homes. Additionally, the device can malfunction and cause a rider to fall and sustain serious, life-changing injuries. According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Chairman, Elliot F. Kaye, some of these injuries have been serious, including concussions, fractures, contusions/abrasions, and internal organ injuries.
Additionally, top speeds are reached by the rider leaning forward, therefore increasing the risk of facial and head injuries. The agency also recommended riders have a spotter since the hoverboard begins to move quickly the second pressure is applied.
In Louisiana, Jessica Horne lost her family’s home after her 12-year old son’s Fit Turbo hoverboard exploded. A gyroboard caused significant damage to a home in New York. At a mall in Washington, a scooterboard caught fire and shoppers were forced to evacuate. The apparent danger is significant enough that major airlines have banned the two-wheelers altogether. But what is actually causing all these fires? In the New York and Louisiana incidents, the board was plugged in and recharging. In the mall incident, the board wasn’t plugged in at all; there have also been reports of scooters bursting into flames while people were riding them.
Jay Whitacre, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, says that the problem doesn’t have to do with these self-balancing scooters themselves, but with the quality of the batteries being used. “There are a lot of factories in China that now make Li-ion batteries, and the reality is that the quality and consistency of these batteries is typically not as good as what is found in top tier producers such as LG or Samsung,” Whitacre says. “These are known as ‘low cost li-ion batteries’ by most in the industry—they are not knockoffs or copies, but are instead just mass-manufactured cells.”
In February, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission officially warned that hoverboards pose a serious risk, and threatened to block imports or recall hoverboards that don’t meet voluntary safety standards. If someone you know has been injured by a hoverboard or a faulty product or need representation or advice on whether or not you have a case against a bad product or service, call the Friedland | Carmona Today! Our lawyers have extensive experience in products liability and the personal injuries that result from them, and can help you get the compensation you deserve.
The South Florida product liability attorneys at the Friedland | Carmona handle all types of negligence, product liability, personal injury, negligent security, slip/trip and fall, and car accident cases throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach. The Friedland | Carmona handles all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death, defective products, medical malpractice, slip and falls, negligent and reckless drivers, and automobile and motorcycle accidents. Call the Miami personal injury attorneys today and let our family take care of your family.