Exploding hoverboards could spark a legal nightmare for manufacturers
14 January 2016
The must have Christmas gift of 2015 – the hoverboard – could turn into a legal nightmare for the toys’ manufacturers, warns leading personal injury law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.
There have been numerous reports of the batteries in the hoverboards exploding while on charge, burning down at least one home already. Nine hoverboards have now been recalled by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. There are also reports Chinese companies have been caught issuing deceptive safety certificates.
While damage to property is generally claimed through your home and contents insurance, anyone who is injured by the exploding toys or hurt in any resulting fires can make a claim for compensation.
“Individuals who have been injured by a product or who have personally suffered loss or damage as a result of a defective product can bring an action for compensation on a number of grounds, including negligence and/or a breach of Australian consumer law,” explains Maurice Blackburn personal injury lawyer Michaela Bartonkova.
“A product has a safety defect if its safety is not what the community is generally entitled to expect and, certainly in the case of hoverboards, randomly bursting into flames is clearly a defect,” said Dimi Ioannou.
Dependants of a person injured or killed by a safety defect can also claim for losses they have suffered.
What should you do if you have suffered an injury/loss or damage?
Keep the product;
Report the incident to the store/manufacturer;
Keep receipts of all your out of pocket expenses;
Take photos of the product, and
Keep a copy of your proof of purchase.
Consumers generally have three years to bring action from the date they become aware of the loss suffered, the defect in the goods, and the identity of the manufacturer.
If you bought a recalled model it is your right under Australian Consumer Law to return it to the store and ask for a refund.