Just like our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, the lithium-ion batteries found in these products are prone to defects. However, at the footrest of the popular 2015 “Hoverboards”, the “cheap” battery is a lot more dangerous. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conducted tests on models to determine the cause of the fires. This resulted in a massive recall of over half a million hoverboards. The issue has become so serious that major airlines have banned hover boards on board – U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized nearly 1,400 hoverboards in JFK alone last December. If you or someone you know has been injured while being around a hoverboard, contact a Sacramento personal injury attorney immediately.
At least 99 incidents have been reported of battery packs overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire and/or exploding. These incidents have to lead to burns, injuries and property damage. Following the July 2016 recall, The CPSC urges consumers to immediately stop using the following recalled products:
- Hover-Way/Model # HWSBB601-R
- Hype Roam
- Airwalk Self Balancing Electric Scooter
- Swagwag X1
- Back to the Future
- Mobile Tech
- Hover Shark
- X Glide and X Rider
Depending on the above model, you will either receive a refund, repair or replacement.
What makes hover boards so dangerous is not the product itself, but the batteries in them. To meet the high demand, brands are using cheaper components to lure shoppers in for a more affordable hands-free segway. The quality and consistency of these batteries are typically not as good as what is found in laptops and other consumer products.
Each battery contains a “separator” designed to separate the anode and cathode – which is what the current flows through – so nothing short circuits. In a cheaper battery, the separator may not be aligned correctly. Due to impurities in metal particles, the separator could be prone to small holes. The punctured separator, therefore, can result in a short circuit. Another practice that can lead to short circuit is overcharging. Lithium-ion batteries cannot accept overcharge, which is why products contain cut-off mechanisms. Your hoverboard’s charger detects when the battery is charged, and stops the charging process automatically. However, defects in this feature may lead to overcharging and therefore, a fire.
Most modern batteries now incorporate all kinds of safety measures such as emergency vents, but because hoverboards are new, it’s a product without a safety standard. If you or someone you know has been injured while using a hoverboard, contact a personal injury attorney immediately.
And although batteries have been the main cause of hoverboard fires, a defected charger could also lead to a scooter explosion. The best way to prevent a hoverboard to burst into flames is to buy from a trusted manufacturer, but that could be difficult to tell given this category is completely new. This fad makes it difficult to tell which of these companies will even be around in the coming years, let alone, which ones are the safest. Another way is to keep a close eye on the charging process and even use an external universal charger for safer precautions. Also make sure to take good care of the hoverboard as to not drop it, kick it, or hit sharp objects with it that could potentially damage the separator sheets.
As much as a consumer can do to protect the safety of himself/herself and others around them, product defects still occur and it’s important to contact a Sacramento personal injury attorney for help.
Speak to Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney for Specific Answers Regarding Your Injury Case
The Weinberger Law Firm has years of experience handling personal injury cases so we understand how difficult and stressful this time may be. You can trust that our accident attorney will provide the compassion and dedication you need to get the compensation you deserve. Give us a call at (916) 915-0446 for a free consultation.