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Hoverboard Injuries Rising in Florida

The most sought after Christmas gift this past year was indeed the next technological advance in transportation—hoverboards. While promoted for the younger crowd, this invention is attracting all age-levels of individuals interested in getting their hands on the next big thing. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) revealed this past Monday that it will be undergoing an investigation of 22 reports of hoverboards catching fire that have occurred in at least 17 states.

The CPSC engineers in their National Product Testing and Evaluation Center in Maryland have tested and will continue to test new and damaged boards in the search for an answer as to why some models catch fire during the charging stages when compared to others that caught on fire during use. The staff is particularly concerned with the configuration of the battery packs and the compatibility with the chargers. These combustible batteries have airliners banning hoverboards from carry-ons and checked baggage.

The Hazards of Hoverboards

The risks associated with combustible hoverboards are so concerning that Tampa International Airport tweeted out to followers that “Hoverboards look cool, but don’t bring them to TPA. We’ve joined many airports/airlines in banning them on campus.” In addition, Alaska Air, United Airlines and American Airlines have all banned the hoverboards from flight. Furthermore, online shopping giants, such as Amazon.com have taken some of the hoverboards from its site and recommended that consumers throw the unsafe ones out.

Two recent reports of hoverboards catching fire in public have set the tone of the spontaneity of the dangers. One report was discovered on Monday when a hoverboard caught fire at the Deerbrook Mall in Texas. The staff was able to contain and extinguish the fire before the fire department arrived. And while no one was injured and the mall wasn’t evacuated, the hazards to other individuals were of major concern. Another report in New Jersey on Sunday reported a hoverboard that caught fire while charging. The Lanoka Harbor Fire Department took to Facebook in warning locals that leaving devices unattended is dangerous and to also check for manufacturer recalls [1].

There is also a risk of falling and severe injury. The CPSC has received 70 reports of emergency room-treated injuries involving hoverboards whereby the patients have been treated for concussions, fractures, contusions/abrasions, and internal organ injuries. The agency is concerned that there are no hoverboard safety standards. Sean Kane with the Safety Institute said, “You have a product that doesn’t meet any safety requirements. They are considered toys, but in fact they’re not.”

One Clearwater resident, Scott Read, felt the full effect of a fall from a hoverboard when he tried out his adult kids’ board. Apparently, he tried to change directions and fell backwards. This fall shattered his leg in several places, racking up more than $100,000 in a medical bill News-Press reported. Another Florida resident, Congressman Carlos Curbelo also had an accident with the hoverboard when he tried to ride his nephew’s board. He ended up injuring his arm and had to go to the local hospital to receive treatment for his injuries [2].

Consumer Safety Product Commission is Worried

A statement from the U.S. CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye described the dangers and worries that the agency has about the safety issues concerning the popular hoverboards. He urges that while fire hazards are unsafe in their own right, the risk of severe injuries from a fall is more pertinent. Though there is no legal standards put in place for the manufacturers of the product, retailers have the responsibility to ask their suppliers if there is an applicable safety standard in place before agreeing to sell those products. Even then, the chairman, along with the commission has come up with a list of tips to help reduce the risk of an incident.

Tips for Hoverboard Safety:

  • Avoid buying the product at a location such as a mall kiosk or on a website without the guidelines that retailers have because these locations may not have information about who is selling the product and how they can be contacted if there is a problem. When buying a board, if you purchase it from a place where you do not believe you could find the seller again, that should be a clear warning to not do business with them because if a problem were to arise, you wouldn’t be able to contact them.
  • Do not charge the hoverboard overnight or when you are not able to observe the board.
  • Charge and store in an open and dry area away from combustibles.
  • Do not charge directly after riding. Let the device cool for an hour or so before charging.
  • When getting a hoverboard for a loved one, be sure to leave it in its partially charged state. Do not take it out of the packaging to charge it to its full capacity and then wrap it back up. Usually, the product come partly charged. It’s best to leave it in this state until its ready to use.
  • It’s important to look for a certified national testing laboratory mark to make sure that you are purchasing a product where the manufacturer is concerned with the safety of the customers. Without it, the product may be a counterfeit or your safety may not be a priority to the producer.
  • Do not ride near motorists or other forms of traffic.
  • To make it more clear, it needs to be repeated that users must wear protective gear when using and practicing on a hoverboard. Just like a skateboard or roller blades, participants should be wearing a skating helmet, knee and elbow pads as well as wrist guards for protection from falls [3].

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

With Hoverboards becoming the next hot thing in technology (literally), it’s important to note that this new innovation also comes with different hazards that are continually being updated as more and more people use it. Even though it is marketed as a children’s product, whether a child or adult uses it, it’s important to take the safety tips seriously from the CPSC as injuries have become the norm. As such, many cannot come up with the money to pay for all the expenses a Hoverboard injuries ensues. Therefore, it’s important to have the right legal ally that will fight for the damages you deserve.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a hoverboard-related accident, please do not hesitate to call the product-liability attorneys at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for help. The medical bills, lost wages and other expenses that follow a severe injury can be stressful. Call to schedule a free consultation and evaluation to alleviate the stress today. The number to dial is (727) 451-6900.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/product-liability-attorneys/

References:

[1] http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/28/safety-agency-probing-hoverboard-fires-injuries.html
[2] http://patch.com/florida/clearwater/floridians-racking-hoverboard-injuries-0
[3] http://www.cpsc.gov/en/About-CPSC/Chairman/Kaye-Biography/Chairman-Kayes-Statements/Statements/Statement-from-the-US-CPSC-Chairman-Elliot-F-Kaye-on-the-safety-of-hoverboards/