Although they don’t suspend riders a foot in the air like Marty McFly’s hoverboard in “Back to the Future II,” we call them that anyway. They’re actually motorized self-balancing scooters, no air required. The hoverboards in use today are quickly getting a reputation for being unsafe and causing injuries. Bursting into flames is one of the common complaints getting these popular items banned on college campuses, airlines, and Disney theme parks.
If you or your child is injured on your not-yet-back-to-the-future hoverboard, how do you know if you have a product liability case? We’ve got some tips to help you make clarity of the situation.
Understanding Product Liability
Under product liability law, manufacturers have to make sure their products are safe to use and held liable for injuries caused by their products. There are generally three types of product liability defined under the law, and each has to do with the product being defective. They are:
- Manufacturing defect – these are defects that occur during the manufacturing process because of poor workmanship or poor-quality materials.
- Design defect – these defects happen when the design is dangerous or useless regardless of the manufacturing process.
- Failure to warn (also called a marketing defect) – this is a failure to advise of non-obvious dangers that can be avoided when the user is made aware of them. An example is the warning on hair dryers that the air intake can pull in hair, making users aware of this hazard. If that warning wasn’t on a hair dryer, it could be considered a failure to warn.
Hoverboard manufacturer liability for injury to users could come from improper manufacturing, poor design, or lack of adequate product warnings about operating situations that could lead to injury. To win a product liability claim, generally you must prove you were injured or suffered losses, the product is defective, the defect caused your injury, and you were using the product the right way.
Don’t confuse product liability with rider liability. They are two distinct legal issues. If you are injured by a hoverboard that someone else was using when they ran into you or your property, you may have a case. It isn’t a product liability case though because it wasn’t due to product defective manufacturing, design, failure to warn. It was due to the other person’s actions, which may be a cause for a negligence claim against that person, or rider liability.
When someone’s recklessness or carelessness causes accident or injury, there may be cause for a negligence claim. If you were walking down a busy street and someone crashed into you with a hoverboard, they were probably operating their hoverboard carelessly or in an area where hoverboard use is prohibited, and you might want to sue for negligence to recover medical costs.
If you’ve been involved in a hoverboard accident or incident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and whether you have a case. Contact us for more information on product liability or other personal injury cases.