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The Hazards of Hoverboards

Las Vegas is home to many conferences, but few are as well known as the Consumer Electronics Show.  Fox News reports that in 2016 the annual Las Vegas conference is expected to take up over 2.4 million square feet of space across Las Vegas venues. During the 2015 conference, attendees reached an estimated 176,000.  For such a large conference, it may seem strange that the popular “hoverboard” will not be seen in most of that space.  This is because the board has been banned. Wired reported that this ban is simply an extension of a preexisting rule that does not allow personal transportation devices (i.e. bikes, scooters, etc.) on the show floors. However, this ban also comes amidst a series of events that question the safety of the hoverboards.


Hoverboard Bans

The New York Times reported that major airlines, like Delta and United, are banning hoverboards in the wake of safety concerns. In lieu of these restrictions, the hoverboards are being shipped in a particular way. According to CBS Las Vegas, the U.S. Postal Service announced they would only ship the hoverboards through ground transportation.  The concern is primarily with the lithium-ion batteries. Currently there are reports that the batteries exceed the general wattage permitted aboard airplanes, and sometimes spontaneously overheat, posing a fire risk.  The same day, the online retailer Amazon pulled some models of the hoverboard from its website. USA Today confirmed that Amazon is requesting manufacturers that make the hoverboards to provide more safety assurances concerning the products. A major concern arises with counterfeit hoverboards using fake batteries.  So far the Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating eleven reports of hoverboard fires within the last year.  However, NBC News 3 reported that there were no hoverboard incidents in Nevada as of mid December.


Fires are not the only concern pertaining to hoverboards. In a WebMd news report Basil Besh, an American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons spokesperson, said that many doctors are treating trauma injuries related to hoverboards. Hoverboards require the rider to balance on a device that can reach speeds up to twelve miles per hour. Besh recommends wearing a helmet and knee pads as a precaution.


Ultimately this means hoverboards, despite their recent popularity, may hold some risk.  Although some retailers have restricted the sale of hoverboards, there is a good chance that if you ordered one it was before much of the current scrutiny began.  The relative recency of hoverboard incidents have not lead to many court cases yet, but that does not mean litigation will not come. Most of the future cases will likely involve product liability claims for losses related to faulty hoverboards.  There may also be negligence actions related to hoverboard users improperly using the devices.  Most, if not all, of these claims would fall under the personal injury umbrella.


What to do if you’ve been injured?

Any faulty device can bring injury to its user, or anyone close to it for that matter. If you or a loved one has been injured you should seek immediate medical attention. Then you should contact a licensed Nevada personal injury attorney to help you with your claim.

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