One of the most popular holiday gifts last year is causing an abundance of personal injuries. Although hoverboards do not actually hover, they do pose a substantial risk for users. Riders are not just at risk of having their hoverboard malfunction, which could result in a dangerous fall that could cause significant injuries, but many of these boards are reportedly catching on fire and even exploding.
And riders are not the only ones at risk for serious or disabling injuries related to hoverboards. Pedestrians and cyclists could be injured if a reckless rider collides with them, and car accidents can occur due to the carelessness of hovorboard riders as well. Depending on the circumstances surrounding a hoverboard injury, a victim may be able to file a personal injury claim or a product liability claim.
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Reducing the Risk for Hoverboard InjuriesFortunately, there are numerous ways that consumers can help reduce the risk of hoverboard related injuries. Individuals should:
- Only purchase high quality hoverboards. When considering a model to purchase, it is recommended that consumers do their research and check for recalls, product liability lawsuits and read news articles related to various products and their safety. Additionally, there are numerous merchants and third-party sellers are selling knock-off versions of hoverboards on the internet at a fraction of the cost. At this time, it is not known whether these cheaper fakes are more prone to fires and other malfunctions. It is highly recommended that consumers only purchase hoverboards directly from the manufacturer or a reputable merchant.
- Never leave a charging hoverboard unattended. There have recently been numerous reports of hoverboards not only catching fire or exploding while in use, but some incidents have occurred while the hoverboards were charging as well. In one instance, for example, an entire home was destroyed when a charging hoverboard caught fire and burned so intensely that the structure was completely engulfed in flames within just a few minutes.
- Never allow young children to ride hoverboards. Many brands specify minimum weight limits for their products, and when a young child doe not meet the weight required, the board may not be able to detect their weight and therefore will not balance correctly. Additionally, some brands specifically state that their products are not designed for children under 13 years of age.
- Remember that hoverboards can travel as fast as 10 mph. Significant, and sometimes life altering injuries can occur when a fall or collision happens at that speed.
- Avoid riding a hoverboard in the street or near traffic as much as possible. Factors ranging from inexperience to product malfunction can cause the rider to lose control and become involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.
- Always ensure that proper safety gear is used when operating a hoverboard. Helmets, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards can help reduce the risk of significant injuries.
Common Hoverboard Related InjuriesWhile some personal injuries that victims experience while riding hoverboards are minor, and only temporary, other injuries can be severe, life changing, and require extensive ongoing medical treatment. Some of the more common hoverboard related injuries sustained include:
- Concussions and other potentially serious head injuries are a common type of injury experienced by hoverboard accident victims. While falls are a leading cause of these types of injuries, it is important to remember that collisions with pedestrians, bicyclists, motor vehicles and other objects can cause head injuries or concussions as well. Significant head injuries can result in things like long term memory loss, cognitive impairment, decreased physical functioning, paralysis, loss of vision and other disabling effects.
- Broken bones are another common injury that is associated with hoverboards. While broken arms or legs typically heal in time with proper medical treatment, sometimes these injuries can be so severe that they cause permanent issues with pain, movement or functioning.
- Another type of injury that is possible with the use of a hoverboard is permanent injury to the internal organs. In some situations, such injuries can impact the victim's quality of life and future ability to work.
- Hoverboard users are also at risk for suffering severe burns due to the product catching fire or even exploding. Exposure to such intense heat can cause permanent disfigurement and even death.
While, in most cases simply falling off of a hoverboard or colliding with an object will not warrant a personal injury claim or a product liability lawsuit, if an individual suffers injuries due to product malfunction, design defects or inadequate warnings and instructions, the manufacturer can be held liable and the victim could receive compensation for things like pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage and medical bills. Likewise, if an individual is injured due to a collision or other accident caused by the recklessness or negligence of a rider, a personal injury claim can be filed to recover damages.