A hoverboard is a self-balancing, motorized scooter, often compared to a Segway without a handlebar. Since 2015, hoverboards have increased in popularity. Unfortunately, hoverboards can be dangerous and fires have been reported due defective batteries and charging systems. If you have been injured by a hoverboard, you may be entitled to compensation.
These injuries are separate from user error or mishandling which results in the rider falling and/or crashing into something/someone. In these situations, it is less likely that the product is defective and more that the rider did not operate the hoverboard correctly.
What Kinds of Hazards Could a Hoverboard Cause?
Most hoverboard claims involve fires. There have been ongoing reports of hoverboard fires that occurred during charging as well as spontaneous combustion. Riders have suffered serious injuries, including:
It also appears that some early hoverboards may have used counterfeit UL certifications on their packaging and products. (UL is a respected company that assesses the safety of electronic products.)
In 2016, the Consumer Product Safety Commission began investigating hoverboard fires (which seem related to cheap and defective batteries and electronic systems). The agency then recalled over half a million hoverboards due to unsafe battery systems. Many commercial airlines have banned hoverboards, due to the risk of fire.
Hoverboard riders may also be involved in falls or collisions. Inexperienced riders may lose control of the hoverboard, causing serious injuries to both themselves and others. These injuries may involve bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries, contusions, and lacerations. Technical failures of the hoverboard may also contribute to accidents and injuries.
What Kinds of Claims Could a Plaintiff Bring?
Depending on state law and the facts of your case, you may also be able to file a product liability lawsuit against a retailer. Product liability claims typically involve a detailed technical and legal analysis. If you need help with a defective hoverboard claim, consider contacting a lawyer.
You also may be a member of a class action lawsuit. (There already have been class action lawsuits concerning hoverboards.) A class action is a lawsuit filed on behalf of a large group of plaintiffs. They are commonly used in product liability and consumer-related actions.
If you are a member of a class action, you will be notified of the lawsuit. You may choose to either opt out of the class action (and pursue your own claim) or continue as a class member. If the lawsuit results in a recovery, all members receive a share of the settlement or judgment.
Injuries caused by a negligent hoverboard rider may be covered in a personal injury lawsuit. Unfortunately, insurance may not cover hoverboard-related injuries and accidents. If a negligent rider caused your injuries, consider contacting a lawyer to help determine whether there is insurance coverage in your case.
What Defenses Could a Plaintiff Expect?
In a product liability claim, a manufacturer may offer multiple defenses, including:
- Assumption of Risk: If you knew of the risks involved with using the hoverboard and ignored the danger,
- Comparative fault or contributory negligence;
- Unforeseeable Use: If you misused the hoverboard in a way that the manufacturer could not anticipate; or
- Substantial Change: If you made significant alterations to the hoverboard that caused the injuries.
If you are suing a negligent hoverboard rider, his or her defenses may include comparative and contributory negligence. You may be able to rebut these defenses with the help of a skilled lawyer. Do not assume that you will lose your case simply because the manufacturer presents a defense.
What Remedies Could a Plaintiff Demand?
If you were injured by a hoverboard, you may be entitled to damages and compensation. This may include:
- Economic damages (which pay for out-of-pocket expenses, like lost wages, medical bills, and property damage),
- Non-economic damages (which pay you for your pain and suffering), and
- Punitive damages.
A calculation of damages depends on many factors, including the severity of your injuries, the presence of pre-existing injuries, and any limitations based on state damages laws.
Damages may often cover various expenses and costs, including medical bills, hospital expenses, lost wages, property damage repair costs, loss of future earnings, and various other costs.
In cases involving manufacturer defects, remedies may also include a product recall. (At least half a million hoverboards were recalled in 2016). Product liability may also result in class action lawsuits if many consumers are affected by the defect.
Can a Lawyer Help with a Hoverboard Lawsuit?
Hoverboard lawsuits can be complex and may require the assistance of a legal professional. Personal injury lawyers can help evaluate your claim and protect your legal rights. Hoverboard injury lawsuits typically require expert testimony and technical expertise. A lawyer can help guide you through the claim process, find the necessary experts, and ensure that all filing deadlines are met.