Hoverboards were first made popular as fictional transportation devices in the Michael J. Fox movie Back to the Future II in 1989. As opposed to how they’re depicted in the movie, today’s ordinary hoverboard consists of two wheels that are attached to an axle under a platform that is powered by one or more lithium batteries. Unlike a Segway, a hoverboard has no post or handlebars.
What Makes Hoverboards Work?
Hoverboard riders learn how to balance and propel themselves forward. If they want to go forward, the lean forward. If they want to turn, they merely need to push on the right side or left side. To stop a hoverboard, the rider needs to slowly lean back until the device comes to a complete stop. That’s when the rider can safely step off of the board. Most hoverboards can transport a rider at speeds up to about 10 mph. Most riders prefer speeds of 6 to 8 mph which is fast enough for a rider to be seriously injured or seriously injure somebody else.
Are Hoverboards Legal in California?
It’ perfectly legal for a person to operate a hoverboard in California, subject to the California Vehicle Code. Strict laws apply. Those laws might be different from city to city, so be aware of the local ordinances wherever you’re at.
Hoverboard Personal Injury Claims and Lawsuits
One of the things that make hoverboards so dangerous is that they’re cheaply manufactured. Most models can be purchased online for $150 or even less. Aside from the fact that riders and other people can be injured as a result of the careless and negligent operation of a hoverboard is the fact that design, manufacturing and marketing defects come with many of these products. Some hoverboard owners have even suffered extensive fire damage to their homes as a result of the devices igniting when they were charging their hoverboard batteries. Investigators from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission are conducting tests to ascertain whether the batteries of various hoverboards are compatible with their chargers. Hoverboards are even banned on some airlines.
Under the law of product liability, a manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler or retailer of a product can be held strictly liable for injuries or property damage that is caused by a dangerously defective product. A product can be dangerously defective in one of the three following ways:
- By design defects that affect all of the products in the line.
- By manufacturing defects that affect only a few products in the line that slipped through inspection.
- By marketing defects like failing to provide warnings of the product’s dangerous characteristics on its packaging or on the product itself.
A person who rides on a hoverboard has a duty to use due care and caution for the safety of the person and property of others. Those individuals include but aren’t limited to pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders, senior citizens, children and people with disabilities. A breach of that duty can cause the rider to be held liable for a crash victim’s injuries and damages.
Contact an Attorney
It’s extremely difficult for an injury victim to legally prove product liability, ordinary negligence or damages without the assistance of a knowledgeable, experienced and effective personal injury and property damage attorney. Whether you were injured while using a hoverboard or by someone who was using a hoverboard, contact us at (415) 466-8717 for a free confidential consultation and case evaluation. We promise to examine all of the facts surrounding your case, answer your questions, and advise you of all of your legal rights.