It appears that hoverboards, one of the recent holiday season’s most popular gifts, come with some serious safety concerns. Now under investigation by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), owners and riders of hoverboards are encouraged to exercise caution with the futuristic devices.
If you’ve seen them around town, then you know that hoverboards don’t hover, but instead roll. The motorized, self-balancing scooters rely on two wheels, one on either side of footpads that are used to control the device. Riders shift their bodyweight forward on the footpads to roll forward and accelerate, and shift backwards or to either side to reverse or turn. While some models top out at 5 or 6 mph, others can travel up to 15 mph. The devices don’t come cheap—a hoverboard will run you between $300-$1,000.
Law enforcement and safety organizations in the UK have been in a battle against hoverboards for even longer than those in the US. Due to the risk to pedestrians and drivers, it is illegal to ride hoverboards on public streets or sidewalks in the UK. Owners there can only ride them on private property, with the property owner’s consent. The National Trading Standards, the British equivalent of the CPSC, has already recalled 90% of all hoverboards imported into the UK since October of 2015, due to a faulty charging port that can sometimes cause the devices to explode. One British woman was badly burned while riding a hoverboard when the device caught fire.
In the US, the CPSC has received over 70 complaints of property damage or personal injury caused by hoverboards. The CPSC is currently investigating over 20 fires that consumers claim were started by their hoverboards, and has warned owners to monitor the devices carefully for signs of overheating, especially while charging. One Alabama couple has filed a lawsuit in state court seeking compensation for the damage to their home after the hoverboard they purchased caught fire. Another man has filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of a Swagway brand hoverboard after the board he purchased for his daughter burst into flames the first time he charged it. Those who have purchased defective hoverboards that have subsequently caused property damage or injury are encouraged to contact an attorney to determine their rights to compensation for their damages.
If you have purchased a hoverboard in Mississippi that has caused you injury or property damage, contact the experienced Biloxi personal injury attorney Corban Gunn for a consultation on your claims, at 228.284.6805.