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Hoverboard Accidents

Hoverboard on FireThe trendy toy for Christmas gifts in 2015 was a self-balancing two-wheeled scooter, known as a “hoverboard,” despite the fact that it does not truly hover when moving. But hoverboards can be dangerous, with the high risk of falling and reports of fires. Defective hoverboards may cause injuries that lead to personal injury suits, and California has enacted new safety laws to further protect hoverboard riders.

The Dangers of Hoverboards

Riding hoverboards is a difficult skill to master, and the internet is filled with videos of people falling off them. But these accidents are not always funny—falling may cause head injuries, broken bones, and other serious injuries.

There have also been reports of hoverboards catching fire because of the lithium-ion battery and malfunctioning plugs. These hoverboards have burst into flames while being ridden, while charging, and at other times. Hoverboard fires may injure riders, of course, but may also spread, causing house fires and significant property damage.

Product Liability Suits

Those who have been injured by a malfunctioning hoverboard may be able to recover damages in a product liability action. To recover, injured parties do not need prove that the manufacturer was negligent. Instead, they must show only that:

  • The user was harmed by using the product; and
  • The product was defective.

There are three types of product defects: design, manufacturing, and product defects. A design defect exists if some aspect of the design makes the product unsafe when it is used in the manner in which it is intended to be used. Manufacturing defects occur when products are not manufactured according to their design, and those defects make them unsafe to use. A product may have a marketing or advertising defect if the company failed to provide adequate instructions and warnings for safe use of the product.

If a person can prove that he or she was injured by a defective product, then the victim may recover damages for the resultant injuries. This can income compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage.

Safety Laws

The rise in hoverboard injuries has spurred the creation of new safety laws in California. In October, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill legalizing the use of electrically motorized boards such as hoverboards, but restricting their use to those over age 16. This law overturned a 1977 ban intended to keep gas-powered skateboards off the streets. 

But the new law also includes several restrictions for the use of hoverboards. It requires that: 

  • Hoverboards be equipped with certain safety equipment;
  • Riders wear helmets when operating a hoverboard on the road or any public bike path, sidewalk, or trail;
  • Riders in public places not go any faster than 15 mph;
  • Riders only ride on streets where the speed limit is 35 mph or lower, unless riding in a bike lane. 

The law also provides that it is a criminal offense to ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, it permits cities and counties to make additional restrictions.

If you have been injured by a defective hoverboard, you should discuss your case with a lawyer. Please contact the passionate San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. for a free consultation.

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