Hoverboard Accident Attorney in Jacksonville
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One of the hottest products produced this year is drawing heat for an obvious lack of quality control, inadequate safety testing and no warning of potential dangers. With hoverboards expected to be a top seller this Christmas season, Harrell & Harrell has assigned a personal injury attorney to lead a defective products investigation of these potentially dangerous devices. Not only are there growing concerns over hoverboard accidents with injuries caused by falling off of the two-wheeled vehicle, consumers have suffered major fire damage to their homes. Under U.S. liability laws, a product’s manufacturers, distributors and sellers can be held liable for injuries and property damages caused by a defective product.
According to Elliot F. Kaye, chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), his agency has received at least a dozen reports of hoverboard fires in ten states, which included homes being burned to the ground. In hopes of finding answers as to why the popular boards are bursting into flames while their batteries are charging, engineers have been working around the clock at the agency’s testing facilities in Maryland to determine if certain manufacturers used cheap lithium-ion batteries that may not be compatible with the board’s charger. The CPSC is charged with protecting consumers from unreasonable risks of injury, death and property damage from thousands of types of products which cost our nation more than $1 trillion dollars annually.
The idea of a floating skateboard was made popular by Michael J. Fox’s role in the popular 1989 movie “Back to the Future Part II.” Ironically the movie involves time travel to the year 2015, where hovering devices have replaced the popular version of the skateboard. And, it was this year that California-based Arx Pax introduced the Hendo Hoverboard that rides on a cushion of air thanks to a new technology for magnetic levitation. However, these are very expensive ($10,000 each) devices that ride a 1/2 inch above a copper plate.
Because of the instant popularity of the Hendo board, product marketing companies immediately sought a source for an affordable hoverboard-like vehicle to sell to the masses. A high demand for a new product can cause criminals and irresponsible manufacturers to exploit the situation and flood the market with cheap and dangerous knock offs. In this case, the self-balancing two-wheelers that have exploded and burned down homes don’t actually hover. These boards are really a gyroboard that works similarly to the popular stand-up Segway scooter.
Although there are reputable sources for more expensive versions of the hands-free scooters, in some cheaper versions, the anode and cathode in the lithium battery may have a separator that is defective. A rupture or leakage in the cells can lead to electrolyte boiling and a significant fire or explosion. That fire can build upon itself and be difficult to contain. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if a product is defective until it has been charged a couple of times.
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Duty of Care for Safe Products
Although several sellers have responded as being unaware of product liability issues, it should be a good reminder as to why a distributor, marketer or seller must be careful about items they purchase for resale and from whom they purchase their inventory. To make matters worse, the batteries in hoverboards may not be the only problem with this year’s must-have product, as reports have already surfaced of consumers being injured or killed as a result of falling due to other possible defects. Safety experts at the CPSC have questioned whether the product should be removed from the marketplace until there are assurances that the devices have been adequately tested and manufactured to quality standards.
Generally speaking, consumer product liability is based on a duty of care. Any manufacturer has a duty to design a reasonably safe product. Moreover, when a distributor or product marketer places an inherently dangerous product (such as anything with malfunctioning steering or explosive batteries) into the channels of commerce, it has a duty to adequately warn of the danger and the duty to provide instructions as to its proper use.
As such, manufacturers (NOTE: In China it is hard to sue), distributors and resellers could be held liable for all damages as a result of their failure to adequately design, inspect and test a defective product. You can report any product defect or injury associated with a dangerous or defective product directly to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but you may want to seek legal counsel before you file a report. Product liability claims are very complex.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can ensure your legal rights are preserved and that you receive a fair compensation for physical injuries and property damages related to the use of a defective product. At Harrell and Harrell, our attorneys have the experience and expertise to handle cases involving serious personal injury and wrongful death arising from dangerous products. If you or a loved one has been injured or damaged by a defective hoverboard, give us a call at 904.251.1111 or 800.251.1111 to discuss the details of your case.
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Being in an accident is never fun but Harrell & Harrell totally know their stuff and are truly a team that cares about you! It's not about the numbers its about making sure your questions are answered, phone calls are returned promptly and you are treated like part of the family! Never once during the two year legal process did I question my decision to work with Harrell & Harrell. Allison Champion, Greg Schlax, Amy Seamon, David Black, Donald Black and Beth Osburn ~ you guys are professional yet personal and me and my son both appreciate each of you and your extra effort regarding our cases!!