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Amazon has settled a lawsuit alleging that a house fire and injuries were caused by a faulty, counterfeit hoverboard that were sold through its online marketplace. According to Law360, the lawsuit that was first filed in Nashville in 2016, claimed the Fox family’s $1 million home was destroyed by a fire caused by the battery in the FITURBO F1 hoverboard. The father had to rescue two teenage children who were then forced to jump from the second floor of the home.
The family sought $30 million in compensation from Amazon claiming they had lost $1.9 million in home and property, and suffered psychological effects and long-term injuries. The trial was scheduled for November, but Amazon agreed to an undisclosed settlement with the plaintiffs. While Amazon won the first rounds of the product liability lawsuit, last August, an appeals court ruled that the online retail giant must face claims of misrepresentation and consumer fraud connected to the sale of the hoverboard, which was purchased from Amazon Marketplace for around $275 in November 2015.
The court said Amazon stopped hoverboard sales after investigations showed the fire risk, but criticized the company for not informing the plaintiffs or 250,000 other people who purchased the hoverboards around the time of the danger. Amazon insisted it was not at fault blaming the product’s Chinese manufacturer and third-party seller who advertised the hoverboard on Amazon’s marketplace.
Last year, a New Jersey court determined that Amazon should be held liable in another product liability lawsuit involving a faulty hoverboard. But, a later judgment in an Arizona court concerning two hoverboards that caught fire went in the company’s favor. Amazon also faces product liability claims over counterfeit goods sold on its platforms. And there are still serious concerns about the safety of hoverboards being sold on Amazon and other sites in spite of numerous product liability lawsuits involving these products.
The lithium-ion batteries in hoverboards, especially those that are manufactured poorly or with substandard parts, have the potential to trigger deadly fires or explosions. A number of batteries we see in hoverboards are not exactly knockoffs, but mass-manufactured cells that lack quality control. In this particular case, the hoverboards were counterfeit products that had not undergone safety testing. Once out on the streets, the consequences could have been devastating.
Manufacturers of hoverboards, like manufacturers of any other product, have a duty and responsibility to make products that are safe for consumers. Retailers who sell these products, be it in a brick-and-mortar store or online, can also be held liable. If you have been injured by a defective hoverboard or faulty battery, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your losses including medical bills, lost wages, hospitalization, permanent injuries such as scarring or disfigurement, pain and suffering and mental anguish.
Injured victims would also be well advised to contact experienced Los Angeles hoverboard injury attorneys who will fight for their rights and help them seek and obtain fair compensation for all their losses.