Hoverboard Lawsuits May Take-off

By Greg Kohn

Are hoverboards a threat to consumer safety?

One popular gift item this holiday season was hoverboards. As with any other consumer product, these motorized scooters may subject the manufacturers and retailers to product liability lawsuits. It has been reported that hoverboards are spontaneously combusting, and riders have taken spills that have resulted in injuries. It goes without saying that lawsuits will be the result of these mishaps.

In fact, there are two lawsuits in the process. One involves an Alabama couple suing a local retailer after a hoverboard burst into flames in their home. A similar case has been brought in New York by a consumer who alleged that the board caught fire while charging. The plaintiff is seeking class-action status for the case against the manufacturer and the retailer.

Moreover, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating numerous reports of hoverboard fires. The agency is also testing the product in its lab, and early indications are that the fires are the result of flaws in the lithium-ion batteries that propel these boards. The question remains, however, as to whether these product liability cases have merits, and it is uncertain if they will prevail.

What is a product liability lawsuit?

Consumer products that are defective or dangerous result in thousands of injuries each year, and these incidents become the basis for product liability lawsuits. The liability can be tied to the manufacturer or the retailer that puts the defective product into consumers’ hands. These claims fall under state laws and there must be a showing of negligence for a case to prevail. The consumers must also show that a defect caused an injury. Such defects either occur in the design stage, during manufacturing, or in the marketing strategy if consumers are not provided notice regarding the intended use of the product and the possible dangers.

Obstacles to Hoverboard Lawsuits

One obstacle facing consumers who may have been injured in a hoverboard incident is the fact that the products are largely manufactured in China. The question remains as to what these consumers can realistically expect to recoup. While owners can sue manufacturers or retailers directly, depending on state law, any award depends on the extent of the damage. If there were injuries from a spontaneously combusting hoverboard, consumers may be able to secure monetary damages for lost wages and medical costs. Cases where the injuries were sustained in a fall, however, may not merit a lawsuit.

Consult an Attorney if You have Been Injured by a Consumer Product
Product liability cases are difficult to bring and the laws vary from state to state. If you have suffered an injury because of a defect in a consumer product, you should consult with a qualified personal injury who can determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.