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Did a bike break and injure you? The bike may have been defective, which would make the designers or manufacturers liable for your injuries.
To learn more, we spoke with Trent Shuping, a personal injury attorney and partner at the Atlanta-based Warshauer Law Group. He says anyone injured by a defective bike should call an attorney immediately to find out if they have a case. There’s no charge to speak with an attorney, and you don’t owe any upfront attorney fees to pursue a claim.
Contact Trent Shuping by calling 888-981-5602 or by submitting a contact form on this page.
It’s a fairly new development in the law, coming about within the past 50 to 70 years. It refers to any defects that might be present in a product like a bicycle that would make the manufacturer strictly liable for any injuries that occur. This means that attorneys do not need to prove that negligence occurred, which makes this process much easier for injured victims and their personal injury attorneys. It’s assumed that when a bike manufacturer makes a handlebar frame, that frame won’t crack while it’s being used.
There are two main types of product liability cases:
1 - Product not manufactured correctly: it did not meet the original design
2 - Design defect: the company didn’t properly take into account all the necessary factors.
If the manufacturers meant to have a smoother, polished edge on the handlebars and it instead made a bike with sharp, jagged, metal edges, this could count as a manufacturing defect. If these edges were part of the original design, it would be considered a design defect.
It helps to look at larger trends. For example, bicycles available at big box stores are assembled at those stores, so they may not be assembled with the type of care seen at bicycle specialty stores. This means that the store could be liable, and that if you bought a bike from one of these stores, it is more likely not your fault that the bike broke and caused an injury.
To be sure, however, you need to contact a lawyer so they can perform an investigation. Attorneys have experts they can consult with to perform various tests to determine why breaks occurred.
Even though kids can be rough on their bikes, that doesn’t excuse designers and manufacturers from cutting corners that result in a defective product that is easily broken. A safe bike should hold up to heavy use.
Because of this, video evidence can be very useful in these kinds of cases.
It does complicate things when the bikes are made overseas. The attorney may need to do some extra investigating to find out where different stages of the design and manufacturing occurred to determine where the liable parties are located. This means that you shouldn't give up hope of seeking justice if you see that the bike was made in another country.
You won’t have the liability of the manufacturer. You owe the duty of ordinary care: if you knew it was dangerous and described it as safe, this could make you at least partially liable. But if you don’t know of any problems when you sold it, you should be off the hook.
One of the most important things to do is preserve the bicycle the best you can. Try not to change it, sell it, fix it or continue riding it. Also, don’t throw it away. Get it to a lawyer’s office or a friend’s house as soon as you can.
Next, consult with a lawyer who has experience handling these types of injuries. They can help you figure out if you have a valid claim or not. Either way, you can get piece of mind knowing for sure that you exhausted your options.
Attorneys will take these cases on a contingency basis, meaning you won’t owe anything out of pocket for attorney fees. You would only owe fees if your case is successful, and those fees would be subtracted from the end result. These cases can be expensive to investigate, but the law firm will take care of them.
Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
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