Author: Jason W. Konvicka, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney
Self-balancing scooters, more commonly known as “hoverboards,” were one of the most popular toys of 2015. Despite reports of many hoverboards catching on fire, they were still under high demand this holiday season. The high number of sales has resulted in many accidents due to fires and falls.
Fire Hazards of Hoverboards
In Los Angeles, a hoverboard explosion was caught on video after the board started sizzling while being ridden down the sidewalk. Additional fire incidents have been reported while hoverboards are charging, and even while sitting on the floor at a shopping mall. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), at least 22 hoverboard fires have been recorded so far. These fires prompted some vendors, like Amazon, to stop selling most hoverboards completely. The U.S. Postal Service also refused to transport hoverboards via airmail, and most major airlines refused to allow the toys onboard.
Tips to Reduce Hoverboard Fire Risk
The following safety tips can help reduce the risk of hoverboard fire incidents.
- Never charge hoverboards overnight.
- Always supervise hoverboards while charging.
- Always store and charge hoverboards in an open, dry area, away from any flammable items.
- Avoid purchasing hoverboards from mall kiosks or websites without any information about the seller. A good rule of thumb is if you do not think you will be able to contact the seller if an incident occurs, it may be best not to do business with them.
- Do not fully charge a hoverboard before giving it as a gift. Many hoverboards come partially charged, and they should be left this way until they are ready to be used.
- Avoid charging hoverboards immediately after riding them. The CPSC suggests it is best to let them cool off for at least one hour before recharging.
For more safety tips from the CPSC, visit http://www.cpsc.gov/.
Hoverboards and Fall Hazards
In addition to the fire hazards posed by these new hoverboard toys, the CPSC has urged consumers to remember the fall hazards associated with hoverboards. Because hoverboards are newer toys, there is no real safety standard in place for using them safely, i.e., wearing a helmet. Viral online videos show parents and children falling off their new hoverboards, and virtually none of the hoverboard riders are wearing safety gear. Be mindful not to make this mistake.
The CPSC recommends always wearing safety gear when riding a hoverboard. Appropriate safety gear for a hoverboard means the same safety gear used when riding a skateboard – a helmet, kneepads, elbow pads, and wrist guards.
How To Report A Hoverboard Safety Incident
If you or a loved one has been involved in a hoverboard accident, you can report the incident online at http://www.saferproducts.gov.
Allen & Allen is currently investigating cases on behalf of owners of self-balancing scooters, more commonly known as “hoverboards.” If you or a family member has been injured while using a hoverboard, contact the attorneys at Allen & Allen online or by calling 1-866-388-1307.
About The Author: Jason Konvicka is a partner and trial attorney with Allen & Allen in Richmond, Virginia. During his 20+ year career, he has achieved numerous record-setting jury verdicts and substantial settlements on behalf of his clients. His practice focuses on medical malpractice, bus accidents and product liability personal injury cases. Outside of the courtroom, Jason is involved with the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and currently serves on its Board of Governors as Vice President.
 While they are commonly called “hoverboards,” these toys do not actually hover above the ground. Hoverboards are more technically referred to as self-balancing scooters or skateboards, and are basically hands-free Segways. http://www.vox.com/2015/12/30/10690720/hoverboard-fires-safety.