One of the most popular Christmas gifts this past holiday season was probably first seen by most of us in “Back to the Future 2” when Marty McFly tried to elude capture using something that looked like a miniature flying surf board. Of course, I’m referring to hoverboards, arguably not only a new form of transportation, but a controversial one.Concerns have arisen among consumers based upon the injuries related to hoverboard use, as well as injuries resulting from their potential defects. Hoverboards are two-wheeled, powered by a lithium-ion battery, and capable of speeds greater than 10 miles per hour.
One Pennsylvania orthapedic surgeon witnessed firsthand the injuries that are the potential consequences of hoverboard use. Working on Christmas night, he encountered numerous patients of all ages that had fallen and experienced a variety of bruises, contusions, dislocations and even fractures of the wrist, shoulder, ankle, and hip, some even requiring surgery. Based upon this and similar experiences, many experts advise that riders equip themselves with protective equipment like a helmet and kneepads, as well as a spotter to stand by in the event of a fall. In January, a Philadelphia city council member introduced a bill prohibiting hoverboard use by anyone under the age of 12 unless they wear protective gear.
In addition to the possible injuries from falling off a hoverboard, there are those that may result from defects contained within the unit itself. A report by the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that some units have caught fire or combusted while in use or charging. One hoverboard exploded while in use in Alabama and another caused a family in Louisiana to lose their home to a fire started while the board was charging.
What is the explanation for the volatility of hoverboards? Mass-manufactured, low quality batteries, assembly with sub-standard materialswhich are prone to dangerous results when placed on moving devices like hoverboards, where they are inevitably exposed to repeated instances of impact and stress. Charged batteries generate a great amount of heat inside the cells, causing the electrolytes to boil and rupture the cell casing, resulting in the potential for significant combustion and fire. The problem is then aggravated by the existence of cheaper hoverboards made with cheaper parts.
Hoverboards are now banned throughout the United Kingdom and in cities like New York (violators are subject to a $200 fine). Major airlines have even disallowed them on flights based upon fear of them combusting. Also, many public places such as malls and airports have prohibited their use, while as of the beginning of 2016, more than thirty colleges and universities have banned them. Earlier in the year, Amazon offered refunds to any of its customers that purchased a hoverboard, while banning the sale of some, but not all.
Powell Law has litigated on behalf of those injured by the use of a product, device, or other merchandise for 110 years. If you have been injured as a result of the use of a hoverboard, call Powell Law. Your first consultation is free. Contact us online or call (570) 961-0777.