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Many new pieces of sports equipment-bikes, skateboards, rollerblades-require some trial and error for users to learn how to safely operate them. Once that equipment is motorized, however, the risk of injury increases greatly. Hoverboards initially made their mark by exploding in popularity, even with their hefty price tag ranging between $300 and $900. Now, the self-balancing scooters have become known for a different reason: the injuries they cause both to riders and to property

Hoverboards began gaining attention over the summer of 2015. The battery-powered devices look like horizontal skateboards, and are controlled by the user shifting his or her weight on the two foot pads in the center of the board. The user shifts forward, and the board accelerates forward. Shifting to one side or the other will cause the board's path to curve left or right. Sellers claim that the boards are intuitive to control, with only a small learning curve to become an adept rider. However, anyone who has seen the abundant "hoverboard fails" on social media can attest that the devices are not as easy to operate as claimed, and that a failure to properly control the hoverboard can cause serious injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received complaints from some 70 individuals who required a visit to the emergency room for injuries received while riding a hoverboard, largely for falls and collisions, but with at least one victim of smoke inhalation after the board caught fire. One doctor in Pennsylvania reported having seen seven individuals with fractured bones within 36 hours, all received from falls from hoverboards.

The CPSC has expressed even more serious concern over the fire hazard posed by hoverboards. The devices are prone to catching fire while charging, sometimes doing substantial damage to owners' homes in the process. One New Jersey family was forced to call firefighters to control a blaze started by a hoverboard. A New York man has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of all Swagway-brand hoverboard owners who have experienced property damage caused by the devices, after the hoverboard he purchased as a Hanukkah gift caught fire the first time he plugged it in to charge. A Louisiana family reported that their home burned down after their hoverboard caught fire, and an Alabama couple is suing for property damage from the fire caused by the hoverboard they purchased at a mall kiosk. Anyone who has experienced property damage or physical injury from hoverboard use is encouraged to contact an attorney to explore how they can receive compensation for their injuries.

If you or a loved one have been hurt while riding a hoverboard, or have incurred other property damage from a malfunctioning hoverboard, contact the experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at the Morristown office of Smith & Doran, at 973-292-0016.

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Smith & Gaynor, LLC
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