March 2016 Meldon Law Newsletter

This month’s topic of interest: March 2016 Hover boards: Fun Toy or Dangerous Liability?

A New York family gave their two sons (the youngest son under 18, and the older one just 18) hoverboards this past Christmas. The term “hoverboard” is a bit of a misnomer, as they are actually motorized self-balancing scooters. It doesn’t matter that they don’t really hover, though, as everyone is calling them “hoverboards.”

As anybody could predict, the boys immediately took the toys out for a test run. The older son picked up speed (the hoverboards have a listed max speed of 6.2 miles per hour) and when they rounded a corner he ran head on into a woman who was walking by. The woman fell to the ground. The boys were scared and left the scene of the accident, but the local police caught up to them a couple of blocks away. At the time the officers took the hoverboards away and the parents had to come get the boys at the station. A few days later the cops came back to talk with the older brother because the woman was badly injured when he ran into her with the hoverboard.

Sadly, this story is not unique. With a new toy fad comes a flurry of new injuries. This past Christmas Florida nurses saw a surprising amount of patients with hoverboard related injuries. On December 30th a Jacksonville nurse saw 3 separate hoverboard accidents in a 12-hour shift. She said the most common injury (from speaking with other nurses) is from falling off the boards. “Anything hands free and relying on balance is bound to have injuries.” She said she has heard of up to 6 separate incidences in a single shift.

While the hoverboard spills appear to be comical-consider the viral video of Mike Tyson this past Christmas-the accidents can be dangerous. A Clearwater man has racked up more than $100,000 in medical bills since he took a spill from one of the boards. He fell backwards while attempting to change directions, breaking his leg in several places, News-Press reported. U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami tried out his nephew’s board over Christmas weekend. He injured his arm and had to visit a local hospital. More than 70 reports of hoverboard-related injuries have been received by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC.)

If someone else ran into you with their hoverboard or otherwise caused damage to your property, you could have a negligence claim against the rider. If a person was speeding down a crowded sidewalk on a hoverboard, failed to read or follow directions concerning the use of hoverboards, or was riding a hoverboard where they are prohibited, they could be liable for any injuries they cause due to their recklessness or carelessness. If you’ve been injured on or by a hoverboard, you may want to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about your case.

Jeffrey Meldon
Founder of the Meldon Law Firm