In recent years, hoverboards burst into the scene as a futuristic mode of transportation and a trendy gadget for tech-savvy individuals. These self-balancing scooters promised convenience and fun, but beneath their sleek exteriors lurked a hidden danger: fire hazards. Several incidents of hoverboards catching fire have led to widespread recalls and raised concerns about their safety.
Understanding the dangers associated with recalled hoverboards is crucial to prevent potential accidents and protect consumers. Below, the product liability lawyers at Kherkher Garcia provide details about the Helix recalls, the dangers of defective hoverboards, and what steps consumers can take to reduce the risk of injury.
Helix Hoverboard Recall Information
Certain Hover-1 Helix hoverboards are being recalled due to a fire hazard. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the lithium-ion battery potentially overheating. The lithium-ion battery can overheat, causing fires, crashes, and smoke inhalation. Three fires and five reports of adverse health effects from smoke inhalation have been reported. There has also been significant property damage reported.
Hover-1 Helix hoverboards in camouflage and galaxy colors are affected. Around 25,000 units are included in the recall. The products were sold online at Wal-Mart and Amazon between September 2020 and December 2021. The recalled hoverboards have serial numbers containing the following as the fifth code in the six-code serial number on the bottom of the board:
The CPSC urges consumers to immediately stop using the recalled hoverboard. Consumers can contact Hover-1 for a free replacement hoverboard online or by phone at 1-800-941-9070.
Fire Hazards from Defective Hoverboards
The allure of hoverboards lies in their ability to glide effortlessly, offering a novel way to navigate urban landscapes. However, their design encompasses intricate electrical components, including batteries and motors, which can pose significant risks if not properly manufactured or maintained. One of the primary culprits behind hoverboard fires is the lithium-ion battery, renowned for its energy density but notorious for its susceptibility to overheating and thermal runaway.
Hoverboards rely on lithium-ion batteries to power their motors and electronics. These batteries pack a considerable amount of energy into a compact space, making them prone to overheating if damaged or overcharged. The slightest manufacturing defect or physical damage to the battery can lead to a short circuit, resulting in rapid heat generation and potentially igniting the flammable electrolyte within the battery.
The consequences of a hoverboard catching fire can be catastrophic. Not only do these incidents pose a direct threat to the rider’s safety, but they also risk causing property damage or even starting larger fires if left unattended. Reports of hoverboards spontaneously combusting while charging or in use have surfaced worldwide, prompting regulators to take action and enforce recalls on models deemed unsafe.
Manufacturers and regulatory bodies have identified various factors contributing to hoverboard fires, ranging from substandard battery components to inadequate quality control measures during production. In response to safety concerns, numerous hoverboard models have been recalled over the years, requiring consumers to return or repair their devices to mitigate fire risks.
Common Injuries from Hoverboard Fires
While hoverboard fires can pose significant dangers, the most common injuries reported typically stem from the resulting fires and the attempts to extinguish them rather than from direct contact with the hoverboard itself. However, injuries can vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Here are some common injuries associated with hoverboards catching fire:
Burns are the most prevalent injuries resulting from hoverboard fires. These can range from minor burns to severe, life-threatening injuries, depending on the extent of exposure to the flames and the heat generated by the fire. Burns may affect the skin, underlying tissues, and respiratory tract if individuals inhale hot gases or smoke during the incident.
Inhaling smoke and toxic fumes produced by hoverboard fires can lead to respiratory issues, including coughing, shortness of breath, and irritation of the throat and lungs. Prolonged exposure to smoke inhalation can cause more severe respiratory complications and may necessitate medical intervention.
In some cases, individuals may sustain traumatic injuries while attempting to escape from or extinguish the fire caused by the hoverboard. This can include falls, cuts, bruises, and fractures incurred during panicked efforts to evacuate the area or extinguish the flames using nearby objects or fire extinguishers.
Experiencing a hoverboard fire can be a traumatic event that leaves lasting psychological effects on individuals, including anxiety, fear, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Witnessing property damage, injuries to oneself or others, or being involved in a life-threatening situation can have profound psychological implications that may require professional intervention.
Secondary injuries can occur as a result of the hoverboard fire spreading to nearby objects, structures, or vehicles. Individuals may sustain injuries from falling debris, collapsing structures, or explosions caused by the ignition of flammable materials in the vicinity of the fire.
It is important to note that the severity and type of injuries associated with hoverboard fires can vary depending on factors such as the size of the fire, the proximity of individuals to the source of ignition, and the effectiveness of emergency response measures. Prompt action to extinguish the fire and seek medical attention can help mitigate the extent of injuries and improve outcomes for affected individuals.
Strategies to Reduce the Risk of Hoverboard Fire Hazards
To mitigate the dangers posed by hoverboard fire hazards, consumers should remain vigilant and proactive in identifying and addressing potential fire hazards. Key steps to take include:
- Check for Recalls: Regularly monitor official announcements and recalls issued by hoverboard manufacturers or regulatory agencies. If your hoverboard model is subject to a recall, follow the instructions to either return the device for a refund or have it repaired by authorized technicians.
- Inspect the Battery: Periodically inspect your hoverboard’s battery for signs of damage, such as bulging, leakage, or unusual odors. Avoid using the hoverboard if you suspect any issues with the battery. Seek professional assistance for inspection and replacement if you suspect damage or defects.
- Follow Charging Guidelines: Adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended charging practices to prevent overcharging or exposing the battery to excessive heat, which can increase the risk of fire. Avoid leaving the hoverboard unattended while charging and refrain from using incompatible chargers or adapters.
- Store Safely: Store your hoverboard in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and flammable materials when not in use. Disconnect the charger from the power outlet after charging to minimize the risk of electrical faults.
- Exercise Caution: When riding your hoverboard, remain vigilant and attentive to your surroundings to avoid collisions or accidents that could damage the device or compromise its safety features. Refrain from performing stunts or maneuvers beyond your skill level, as these actions can increase the likelihood of crashes or falls.
The popularity of hoverboards brings with it the responsibility to prioritize safety above all else. The recurring incidents of hoverboard fires underscore the inherent risks associated with these devices and highlight the importance of stringent quality control measures and regulatory oversight. It also underscores the importance of consumers being aware of potential fire hazards and how to reduce the risk of injury or property damage.
What to Do if a Hoverboard Fire Causes Injuries
If a hoverboard fire causes injuries, it is crucial to prioritize immediate medical attention and follow appropriate emergency protocols. Here’s what to do if you or someone else sustains injuries due to a hoverboard fire:
If you are in the vicinity of a hoverboard fire and sustain injuries, prioritize your safety and that of others. Move away from the fire and seek refuge in a safe location to prevent further harm. If the fire is spreading rapidly or poses a significant threat, evacuate the area immediately and alert others to do the same.
Call Emergency Services
Call 911to request assistance and report the fire. Provide essential details about the incident, including the location, nature of injuries, and any other relevant information that can assist emergency responders in assessing the situation and dispatching appropriate resources.
Seek Medical Evaluation
Even if injuries initially appear minor, seek prompt medical evaluation for all individuals affected by the hoverboard fire. Some injuries, such as burns or smoke inhalation, may not be immediately apparent but can have serious long-term consequences if left untreated. Medical professionals can assess the extent of injuries, provide appropriate treatment, and monitor for any complications that may arise.
Move to Fresh Air
If individuals sustain injuries due to smoke inhalation, move them to an area with fresh air to help alleviate respiratory symptoms and prevent further exposure to toxic fumes. Encourage affected individuals to breathe slowly and deeply while awaiting medical assistance.
Protect Against Further Injury
Take measures to protect injured individuals from additional harm while awaiting medical help. Avoid moving individuals with suspected spinal injuries unless absolutely necessary and provide support to prevent exacerbating existing injuries. Keep injured individuals warm and comfortable, and reassure them to minimize anxiety and distress.
Document the Incident
If possible, document the details of the hoverboard fire and any injuries sustained, including photographs or written notes. This information may be valuable for insurance claims, legal proceedings, or future investigations into the cause of the fire and associated injuries.
Contact a Product Liability Lawyer
Contacting a product liability lawyer after a hoverboard fire is essential to protect your rights and pursue compensation for damages. A product liability lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, gathering evidence such as product specifications, manufacturing defects, and any prior recalls or safety warnings associated with the hoverboard model. They can also evaluate the extent of injuries and property damage resulting from the fire, advocating on your behalf to hold negligent manufacturers or distributors accountable for their actions. Top of Form
Responding to injuries caused by a hoverboard fire requires swift action, prioritization of safety, and collaboration with emergency responders to ensure timely medical care and support for affected individuals. By following these steps, you can help minimize the impact of the incident and facilitate the recovery process for those involved.
Free Consultation With a Product Liability Lawyer
At Kherkher Garcia, our product liability lawyers can help you explore your rights and options after a hoverboard fire injury. We know how to navigate complex legal procedures, negotiate with insurance companies, and pursue litigation if necessary to secure fair compensation. If your injuries are due to design or manufacturing negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses incurred as a result of the hoverboard fire.
If you have questions about hoverboard fire hazards or recalls, injuries, or your legal rights, contact Kherkher Garcia for a free consultation. Call us at 713-333-1030, or complete our online contact form to get started.
Image from the CPSC