Onewheel Electric Skateboard Lawsuits
Skateboard company Future Motion recently announced it was recalling about 300,000 Onewheel Self Balancing Electric Skateboards. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that the skateboards can “stop balancing the rider” if the boards’ limits are exceeded, posing a crash hazard.
At the time of the recall, the company was aware of four deaths and several injuries related to this issue, including traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion, paralysis, and fractures.
Previously, on November 16, 2022, the CPSC warned consumers to stop using these skateboards due to an ejection hazard. The commission evaluated the products and determined that they could cause the rider to be ejected. The four deaths had already occurred by that time, as well as multiple reports of serious injuries after the product failed to balance the rider or stopped suddenly while in motion.
Despite this warning, Future Motion refused to implement a recall and continued to sell the products to consumers without adding any new warnings about the dangers.
Chaffin Luhana is currently investigating cases where people were hurt or killed while riding a Onewheel Electric Skateboard. Call us today at 888-480-1123 to see if you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit.
What Are Onewheel Self-Balancing Electric Skateboards?
Originally launched from a Kickstarter campaign in 2014, the Onewheel Self-Balancing Electric Skateboard is a type of battery-powered skateboard that has only one large wheel in the middle of the board. The rider stands on the pressure-sensitive front and rear footpads set on either side of the wheel, then balances over the wheel to ride.
The single wheel functions similarly to other self-balancing vehicles like the original Segway. It accelerates and decelerates automatically based on the rider’s forward and backward lean angle. Sensors that measure the orientation and movement of the board control the battery-powered motor, allowing for smooth acceleration and braking.
Future Motion has sold these products since 2014, online at www.onewheel.com and by authorized independent dealers nationwide. The current models are priced between $1050 and $2200. The boards were manufactured in the United States and distributed by Future Motion, Inc., of Santa Cruz, California.
Riders use the skateboards for multiple purposes, including riding to work, running errands, and for trick riding and racing. The Onewheel Racing League sanctions races across the country and offers cash prizes and divisions for different ages and levels.
What’s Wrong with Onewheel Skateboards?
Riders have reported the skateboards can cut out when their speed limits are reached, causing the rider to be tossed from the board. According to the news site Electrek, the “nosedive” accident—which can occur when the motor no longer provides sufficient power or speed to balance the rider’s forward lean—can prove extremely dangerous.
Prior to the recall remedy (explained below), the only feedback/warning provided to riders directly from the Onewheel device itself was a “pushback” action. Onewheel explains in its owner’s manual that if the rider tries to go too fast, descends a very steep hill, or rides with a low battery, the Onewheel will push back.
This means that the nose of the board will lift to slow the rider down. The only way to avoid this pushback is for the rider to decrease speed by leaning back. Ignoring this warning may result in loss of control, serious injury, or death.
What Remedy is Future Motion Offering?
As part of the 2023 recall, Future Motion is offering a partial credit only for certain products: the original Onewheel and Onewheel+.
Consumers with these products are advised to check for eligibility for a refund by entering the product’s serial number (found on the underside of the bottom of the skateboard rail) on the company’s recall website. When eligibility is confirmed, Future Motion will send a prorated discount credit of $100 toward the purchase of a new Onewheel.
Customers with newer Onewheel products are advised to download or update the Onewheel app and use the app to update the firmware on their boards. The update will include the Haptic Buzz alert functionality. (Learn more about this alert on the company’s YouTube page.)
Haptic Buzz is a tactile and audible warning system that delivers a buzzing sensation or sound when the rider is nearing the limits of the board, or when the board is low on battery power.
For consumers with the following product, the update is available now:
- Onewheel GT: can reach top speeds of 20 mph and travel up to 32 miles on a single charge.
For consumers with the following products, the firmware update was scheduled to launch within six weeks of the recall date (September 29, 2023).
- Onewheel Pint: can reach top speeds of 16 mph and travel up to 8 miles on a single charge.
- Onewheel Pint X: can reach top speeds of 18 mph and travel for up to 18 miles on a single charge.
- Onewheel + XR: can reach top speeds of 19 mph and travel for 18 miles per charge.
Future Motion advised consumers not to ride Onewheel vehicles that are not updated or eligible for updates while reminding riders to wear helmets and other protective gear.
For more information, check Future Motion’s recall website, or call them at 800-283-7943 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.
Types of Injuries Possible from a Onewheel Skateboard Accident
A Onewheel skateboard accident may cause the following injuries:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Deep lacerations
Prior to the recall, plaintiffs had filed three wrongful death lawsuits against Future Motion, alleging that the product feature that allows the motor to stop abruptly is unsafe and caused dangerous rider ejections.
In November 2021, for instance, a rider filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that his Onewheel abruptly halted, throwing him off and causing serious injuries. He purchased the product after watching Future Motion’s promotional videos.
He was in Martin County, Florida on February 12, 2021, when the incident occurred. The plaintiff put on his helmet and traveled about 20 feet from the back of the garage diagonally toward the front, accelerating quickly.
The Onewheel malfunctioned and the plaintiff fell right at the edge of his garage. The plaintiff alleges that the board stopped and he didn’t know why. He received medical attention for his wrist, which was broken in the fall. The plaintiff reportedly settled the case with Future Motion for an undisclosed amount in May 2023.
Meanwhile, other plaintiffs have filed similar lawsuits. On September 1, 2023, Future Motion filed a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel of Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate all Onewheel lawsuits into one court for pre-trial proceedings. They proposed the cases be centralized in the Middle District of Florida. Just a few days later, two more plaintiffs filed lawsuits against the company making similar claims.
Who Is Eligible for a Onewheel Lawsuit?
Plaintiffs who file a Onewheel lawsuit against Future Motion typically allege that the company knew or should have known that the product was dangerous and defective and that they should have done more to protect the public.
Instead, despite numerous reports of injuries and even deaths, they continued to sell the product while maintaining that it was safe when used as directed. They also failed to adequately warn consumers about the potential risks associated with this product and even went so far as to downplay those risks.
If you or a loved one sustained minor or major injuries because of a Onewheel electric skateboard malfunction, you may be eligible to file a Onewheel lawsuit. Even if you suffered only a minor injury, you may still be able to seek compensation for it.
Based on the number of Onewheel skateboards sold over the years, there could be thousands of people affected by the product’s alleged malfunctions. Should the lawsuits be consolidated into one court, plaintiffs will be able to join in the multidistrict litigation.
Call Chaffin Luhana today at 888-480-1123 for a free consultation. We’d be happy to discuss your case with you and explore the best way of obtaining compensation for your injuries.