One of the most popular gifts on everyone’s Christmas lists last year was a hoverboard. These devices appeal to everyone, from kids to adults, and offer a chance to see what futuristic travel might be like. For all the ads and articles about hoverboards, however, it seemed like there were just as many stories about users suffering severe injuries while using the devices.
Recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a federal agency tasked with overseeing product safety and consumer health, issued a letter that essentially made the existing voluntary safety standard for “self-balancing scooters” a mandatory set of requirements. The voluntary standard is known as UL 2272 and primarily focuses on the device’s electric drive train, rechargeable battery, and charging mechanism. The guidance is designed to test the entire device and protect against any electrical or fire-hazard safety issues.
According to the letter, CPSC determined that hoverboard devices “that do not meet these voluntary safety standards pose an unreasonable risk of fire to consumers” that can lead to serious injury or even death if the device catches fire. Between December 2015 and February 2016, the agency received numerous reports from consumers indicating that a hoverboard device ignited while in use and caused property damage or injury. In two instances, the fire resulted in two homes being burned down, and in another case an automobile was destroyed. The agency believes that these incidences were directly linked to the hoverboard devices’ malfunctions.
If you experience injuries as the result of a dangerous product, you may bring a product liability claim to recover compensation. In a product liability claim, the plaintiff must prove that the device bears an unreasonably dangerous design or that the device in question suffered from a manufacturing defect during the manufacturing process. Also, a plaintiff can recover on a product liability theory by showing that the manufacturer or retailer failed to provide adequate warnings and safety instructions with the device.
According to the CPSC’s letter, hoverboards that do not meet the voluntary standards are defective and present a substantial risk. The agency expressed its intent to recall any devices that do not comply with the now-mandatory requirements for hoverboards. This finding could aid a plaintiff in a product liability lawsuit involving a hoverboard that does not comply with the new standards.
In addition to strict liability, a plaintiff can recover compensation for a dangerous product under a theory of negligence by showing that the designer, manufacturer, or retailer failed to use reasonable care in creating, making, and selling the product. A reasonable product designer, manufacturer, or retailer would adhere to the CPSC’s new standard. If the plaintiff can show that the defnedant failed to meet the new guidelines, the defendant would likely be deemed negligent.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as the result of a defective device, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, our child products lawyers have represented numerous victims throughout the country, including in Illinois, California, Texas, and Florida. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about the rights and remedies available to you, so call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to set up your appointment.