A popular Christmas item this year is the “hoverboard,” a small two-wheeled transportation device. It essentially consists of a horizontal plank with just enough room for your feet to stand on. Two battery-powered wheels on either side of the plank then propel you to your destination. The item has grown in popularity this year, but many people are complaining about accident dangers. The units are also spontaneously catching on fire.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that 50 hoverboard-caused injuries have happened that it is aware of. Thirty-nine of those injuries required a visit to the emergency room and included issues like concussions, bone fractures, head injuries, sprains, abrasions and contusions.
The units are also known to spontaneously catch fire, which is why all major United States commercial airline companies have banned them from their planes. Eleven fires caused by combusting hoverboards have been reported in 2015 alone. Due to the fire risks, consumers are being warned not to put hoverboards under their Christmas trees with a full charge. They are also being warned to supervise the hoverboard while it is charging its batteries at all times, and not to leave them charging overnight. Indeed, if one of these devices catches fire and no one is around to put it out, it could represent a very grave danger.
The fire dangers of hoverboards likely relates to the lithium batteries they use to propel themselves. According to the commercial airliners who banned the devices from their planes, the batteries do not comply with watt-hour limitations placed on batteries allowed on commercial planes.
Illinois residents who have been injured in a hoverboard-related incident may want to investigate whether they have a viable claim for financial damages against the manufacturer. Indeed, an injured consumer might have strong claims for restitution to pay for medical care if he or she was injured by this potentially dangerous product.