The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced in February 2016 that self-balancing scooters, otherwise known as “hoverboards,” that do not meet newly-released safety standards face recall, seizure or detention. This is the latest response from the federal government, who is cracking down on hoverboards and their potential safety hazards. Hoverboards have a tendency to burst into flames.
The devices have been implicated in as many as 52 fires resulting in over $2 million in property damage, including the destruction of two homes, the CPSC said. In Santa Rosa, California, a girl left a hoverboard plugged in her bedroom. According to USA Today, “from the burn patterns ‘investigators were able to pinpoint the location where the fire began,’ said Paul Lowenthal, Santa Rose assistant fire marshal.” The girl and her family went out for the evening when a fire occurred. Smoke killed the family’s two dogs; firefighters were unable to resuscitate them. The fire resulted in almost $250,000 in damage to the family’s home.
The dangerous element is the lithium-ion batteries. They are used to power the scooters. Director of the CPSC’s Office of Compliance and Field Operations, Robert Howell, says ion-battery-powered hoverboards “pose an unreasonable risk of fire to consumers.”
Underwriters Laboratories released the first safety standards for hoverboards on February 2, 2016. If these standards are not met by manufacturers, importers and retailers, Howell warned of detention and seizure of the products by the CPSC. If such products are found in the US, the CPSC may also issue a recall.
Over the Christmas 2015 season, hoverboards were popular gifts. Yet safety concerns have arisen—especially in the aftermath of the aforementioned hoverboard fire that killed two dogs. The girl had received the hoverboard as a holiday gift. In response to the dangers, major online retailer Amazon has offered full refunds on hoverboards.
Product liability cases occur all the time. Unsuspecting people and innocent victims—many times children—are seriously injured and killed by dangerous and faulty toys, furniture and other consumer products. If this does happen, it is best for the victim and her/his family to seek legal counsel, especially in regard to medical bills and other concerns. In many cases, a product is faulty and there is no recall or seizure of it, and sadly, it leads to serious injury or death.
Parker | Scheer LLP has highly experienced product liability lawyers within its firm. A product liability lawsuit often requires a very skilled and diligent legal team. We seek to find the cause of the accident and ensure that your family is well compensated. Please contact a Boston product liability attorney at Parker | Scheer LLP today for a free, confidential consultation.