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Better Scrutiny Of Hoverboard Safety Needed Following Mass Recall In US

Concern follows Leeds house fire caused by exploding gadget


Leading product liability lawyers have called for better scrutiny of hoverboard safety after a mass recall of the must-have gadget in the US.

More than 500,000 hoverboards are being recalled because of fire hazards that pose the risk of injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC).

The recall involves hoverboards from eight manufacturers and importers that are made with lithium-ion battery packs.

Hoverboards by Swagway make up more than half of those recalled at 267,000; other units recalled include 4,300 from Overstock.com and 1,300 from a Pennsylvania outlet.

Among the concerns is the risk that the battery packs might overheat, start to smoke or catch fire. There is also a possibility of explosions that cause burns and property damage, according to the CPSC.

Matthew Newbould, expert product liability lawyer at Irwin Mitchell has said the recall demonstrates the need for better scrutiny around the safety of hoverboards imported into the UK.

He said: “Whilst the more reputable brands achieve acceptable safety standards, some of the cheaper brands have failed catastrophically, with the worst cases resulting in serious personal injury and extensive damage to property.

Irwin Mitchell is acting for a family whose home was gutted by fire in January after a hoverboard they had bought in Costco, Leeds exploded, engulfing the property in flames.

The three children inside the house in Bradford, West Yorkshire, when the £280 Airunner hoverboard burst into flames were lucky to escape with their lives.

Tony Chiem, aged nine, and Karen Chiem, aged eight, were playing with the device with their friend Jibril Faris, age 13, when the explosion occurred.

Stranded, the family are now sharing a single bedroom at a relative’s home, until their property is repaired.

Expert Opinion
“Because hoverboards cannot be used legally on public land, they are commonly used inside, meaning people’s homes are being put at risk.

“Although the Chiem family were lucky to escape with relatively minor injuries, they have been left without a home or any possessions and suffering the long-term impact of the fire.

“We are now looking to secure them a settlement to help them to rebuild their lives as they try to put this nightmare behind them.

“Longer term, regulators need to be thoroughly examining these gadgets, which are growing in popularity, to ensure that manufacturers hoping to cash in on the trend aren’t cutting corners and putting lives at risk.

“It’s encouraging to see a recall in the US until the safety of all devices involved can be established. Importers in the UK should be watching carefully to see how the outcome may affect them.”
Matthew Newbould, Solicitor

The recalled hoverboards were manufactured in China and mostly sold by online retailers from June 2015 through May 2016 for about $350 to $900.

Our experienced personal injury claims team will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you have suffered as the result of a defective or faulty hoverboard. View our Faulty Hoverboard Claims page for more information.

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