Christmas 2015 could be labeled the year of the hoverboard with hundreds of thousands finding their way under trees on Christmas morning. Unfortunately, it could also be labeled the Christmas of hoverboard accident as just as many people ended up in emergency rooms after hopping on the trending transportation.
In an added twist to the dangers of this new toy, there have been reports of hoverboards catching fire, destroying property.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, as of February 2015, there had been reports of over 50 fires related to hoverboards. It appears that the fires were caused by the lithium ion batteries that are used to power the boards.
In at least a dozen of the incidents, the hoverboard destroyed bedrooms and even entire homes when it caught fire. Some owners reported that the hoverboard exploded while charging while others were riding the boards when the fire began. Reports of hoverboard fires are surfacing in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong as well.
Currently, there has been no single explanation for the fires and explosions. Experts say this means that it is difficult to protect yourself from catastrophe if you own one of the boards. The fires have led to several hoverboard lawsuits throughout the country as well.
Another issue with hoverboards is that they are not as easy to ride as they appear. The boards have two small wheels on either side with the rider standing on footpads between them. To move forward, the rider leans that way and to turn, they put pressure on the pedal in the direction they want to turn.
Doctors say this is a new movement for most people and they often try to turn too quickly or go to fast on the board. Some who have mastered the boards say it is similar to snow skiing, making it difficult to understand for those who have never skied.
Very few people wear protective gear when they hop on the boards for the first time. Emergency room doctors have reported broken bones and severe head injuries that occurred during hoverboard accidents.
As of December 2015, at least two hoverboard lawsuits have been filed in the United States. One manufacturer, Swagway, says it will defend any lawsuits filed against them, stating that their boards are compliant with regulations regarding the type of battery permitted in the devices. However, one of the two lawsuits filed was against Swagway and the store where the device was purchased when the hoverboard caught fire and caused significant property damage while it was charging.
Experts say that the best way to protect yourself while riding a hoverboard is to treat it like a skateboard or bicycle. Wear protective gear on wrists, elbows and knees as well as a helmet. Practice using the device at home on a level surface before taking it in public.
Lean forward slowly so that the hoverboard moves slowly as well and master moving forward before turning. Monitor the board when you charge it, especially the first time. Do not plug it in and leave the home or go to bed. Never overcharge the battery as lithium ion batteries cannot handle overcharging.
Although there is a cut-off mechanism, if that protection is faulty, a fire may occur.
It appears that some of the fires are caused when the battery pack is damaged, so be careful not to kick, drop or hit sharp objects with the board.
Our Philadelphia hoverboard injury lawyers can advise you whether you may have a personal injury or property damage lawsuit against the manufacturer of your hoverboard. If you or a loved one have been injured after a hoverboard caught fire or you fell while riding the board, you may have a claim against the manufacturer or other party.
Contact Lundy Law today to learn what rights you may have under the law. You can arrange for an initial consultation by calling 1-800-Lundy Law or completing the easy form on our website.