OneWheel Accident Caused By Faulty “Pushback” Feature, Lawsuit Alleges
Future Motion, Inc. faces another product liability lawsuit over a OneWheel accident, which occurred when the electric skateboard’s “pushback” engaged suddenly, causing the rider to be thrown to the ground and suffer serious injuries.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Matthew Boston earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, indicating that the manufacturer knew about a number of OneWheel”pushback” problems, yet continued to sell a defective and unreasonably dangerous product to consumers.
Boston indicates that he was riding a OneWheel GT on a paved road in May 2023, when the electric skateboard stopped suddenly and unexpectedly, while going 16.2 miles per hour. As a result, he was “violently ejected” from the OneWheel in the accident, and hurled onto the pavement.
“Matthew skidded across the road, tearing up his face, chest, arms, and legs on the asphalt,” the lawsuit recounts. “Two passing drivers saw Matthew sitting on the street with his face covered in blood and gravel, and stopped to help him and to call 911. Paramedics arrived shortly thereafter and transported Matthew to the hospital.”
According to the lawsuit, Boston suffered an open fracture to his left radius and left ulna, requiring surgery. He was also diagnosed with a concussion, an acute kidney injury, and multiple abrasions.
OneWheel “PushBack” Problems
The electric OneWheel skateboard can accelerate to speeds of about 20 miles per hour, while the rider balances on the supposedly self-righting board. However, designers decided to add a feature known as OneWheel “pushback”, which is supposed to give the rider physical resistance when the scooter is reaching its operational limit.
Some reports indicate that instead of riders just experiencing a little resistance, which could already upset their balance, sometimes the OneWheel just stops completely, causing the nose to pitch down into ground.
Boston, and a growing number of other plaintiffs who have filed OneWheel accident lawsuits, say this and other design flaws can catapult the surprised rider forward, often causing severe injuries due to the speed of the scooter and the fact that it is usually driven on hard, paved surfaces.
Future Motion Refused to Issue OneWheel Recall
The litigation emerged after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning about the OneWheel accident risk in November 2022, indicating that at least four deaths had been linked to the self-balancing electric skateboards between 2019 and 2021.
These accidents each occurred when the rider was ejected after OneWheel stopped suddenly or shut down. The regulators indicated that a number of other serious injuries have also been linked to accidents on the electric skateboards, including traumatic brain injuries, concussions, paralysis, fractured bones and ligament damage.
Despite evidence of serious design defects, the CPSC indicated at that time that Future Motion refused to issue a Onewheel recall. Therefore, the agency issued the warning directly to consumers, indicating that they should stop using the devices immediately.
Lawsuits filed in the wake of the warning accuse Future Motion of selling a defective product, which led to consumer injuries, and then refusing to remove it from the market when the injury risks and defective nature of the device became apparent.
OneWheel Accident Lawsuits
Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints now pending throughout the federal court system, the manufacturer filed a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) earlier this month, seeking to consolidate and centralize all claims before one U.S. District Judge for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings as part of a OneWheel MDL (multidistrict litigation).
According to the motion, there are currently at least 31 OneWheel injury lawsuits pending in 15 different federal courts nationwide, with the largest number filed in Florida federal court.
If an MDL is established, each individual claim would be transferred to one U.S. District Judge for pretrial proceedings and a series of bellwether trial designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation. However, if settlements for the OneWheel electric skateboard lawsuits are not reached to resolve large numbers of claims, each individual lawsuit may later be returned back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial.
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