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Hoverboard Explosions: The "Hottest" New Product

Photo of Brant Stogner

Amazon is offering full refunds to hoverboard purchasers. Due to the flammability of the lithium-ion batteries used to power the product, hoverboards have been implicated in multiple explosions and fires. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has investigated over forty fires and/or explosions caused by the popular product.

Hoverboards are electric self-balancing riding devices. The liquid moving inside of the lithium-ion batteries in the hoverboards is highly flammable. If the battery short-circuits the liquid electrolyte can heat up rapidly causing the battery to explode. A short circuit can happen if the battery is punctured or if it is defective. A defective battery could have tiny metal particles inside it that can puncture the battery's separator and cause a fire.

Hoverboard fires and explosions have started in many different circumstances. Some explosions have transpired while individuals are riding the hoverboard, others happened when it was charging, and there was one instance of a hoverboard exploding while it was sitting near a mall kiosk. In a case in Santa Rosa, California, a girl left her hoverboard charging in her bedroom. She and her family had left for the night when the hoverboard caught fire. No person was injured, but the family's two dogs died of smoke inhalation and the damage from the fire cost the family over $250,000 in property damage.

Additionally, a man in New York is suing hoverboard maker Swagway after the device caught fire. The man used the hoverboard for thirty minutes and then he plugged it into an electrical outlet. Almost an hour later, the device caught fire. Luckily, no one was injured, but he did sustain significant damage to his home.

Due to the volatility of the product, the United Kingdom has made it illegal to ride a hoverboard on a public road or walkway. Further, the U.K. National Trading Standards organization has seized and destroyed over 30,000 hoverboards. In the United States, the CPSC is investigating thirteen hoverboard manufacturers, distributors, and importers. Also, the CPSC stated its engineers will continue to test the devices at its National Product Testing and Evaluation Center. Currently, there are no safety standards for hoverboards in the United States. It is unknown whether such standards will be created or if the product will eventually be banned.

An explosion and/or fire can cause severe injuries or death. If you or someone you know was injured due to a dangerous or defective product, it is important to understand your right to recover. Contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or toll free at 1-800-870-9584 for a confidential consultation.

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