While most serious injuries stemming from a bicycle accident occur when a bike collides with a motor vehicle, that’s not always the case. Another notable danger encountered by clients of The Ansara Law Firm’s Fort Lauderdale bicycle defect attorneys involves defective bicycles.
Sometimes, there is a mechanical failure of certain components of the bicycle due to defects. Such issues can either directly cause a crash, or else make it all but impossible for a bicyclist to avoid it. In some cases, the bicycle defect may not cause the crash, but they can exacerbate one’s injuries.
We know that here in Fort Lauderdale, some bicyclists will invest sometimes thousands of dollars on the best high-end bikes, safety gear and accessories. But even those riding less expensive bicycles have the right to assume it will meet the standards set forth by the manufacturer, and that it will perform as expected. In cases when this does not happen, cyclists have the right to expect fair compensation. The bicycle defect lawyers at our Fort Lauderdale firm can help them pursue it.
In that same vein, those who rent bicycles have a right to assume the bike they are given is going to have all the right equipment and proper maintenance.
When a defective bicycle causes or contributes to injury, you may have grounds for a product liability lawsuit.Dangerous Bicycle Defects
Bicycle accidents are known to have the potential to cause serious injury, and sometimes long-term disability.
Some of the examples of defects that have been known to cause or exacerbate a bicycle accident injuries are:
- Hand brakes that snap off;
- Defective tire tubes;
- Defective tires;
- Defective brakes
- Defective design resulting in chain easily falling off;
- Suspension forks separating from the frame or breaking;
- Faulty frame welding;
- Defective frame;
- Cranks or pedals that crack.
Recalls of defective bikes occur every year – usually by the dozens.
Just a handful of the high-profile recalls in recent years have included:
- Recall of 10,000 handlebar stems due to carbon-wrapped stems that corrode and break.
- Recall of 78,000 mountain bikes in the U.S. and Canada after a discovery that front wheel could come to a sudden stop or even separate from the bicycle due to a defect with the quick release lever coming in contact with the front disc brake assembly. A separate recall of 1.5 million bicycles made by 13 manufacturers and distributors in the U.S., Canada and Mexico cited the exact same problem.
- Recall of 12,500 mountain bike suspension forks that had potential to separate and cause the front wheel to detach, posing a fall hazard.
- Recall of 800 bicycle wheel rim tapes, which can fail and break under pressure, causing the inner tube of the bicycle to burst, posing a fall hazard.
- Recall of 1 million bicycles in the U.S. and Canada for an issue with the quick-release skewer on the front wheels of bikes with disc brakes. In one case, the defect reportedly caused a rider to suffer a fall that resulted in permanent paralysis. Two other rider injuries involved a broken wrist and facial injuries.
In cases where a bicycle defect has resulted in a rider injury, there may be several defendants one could hold accountable with the assistance of a Fort Lauderdale bicycle defect lawyer, depending on the type of defect and the circumstances of the incident.
These may include:
- Manufacturer of the products or parts;
- Assembly firm;
- Repair shop;
- Rental company.
If you believe your bicycle accident may have been caused in whole or part due to a bicycle defect, preserve the evidence. Keep the bicycle. Take copious photographs of the scene and the parts. Contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney.Product Liability Lawsuits
Bicycles can fail when they are:
- Defectively designed;
- Improperly manufactured;
- Unsafely assembled;
- Unsafely repaired.
In many cases, chain store distributors have consumed the bicycle market, despite having virtually no real expertise or knowledge of bicycles or bicycle parts. That’s why improper assembly and unsafe assembly and repairs are such a major problem. Many of these larger retailers hire contractors to assemble the bikes and/ or repair them, meaning the buyer never has a chance to ask questions of the person who built the bike.
There are three basic claims one can make when it comes to product liability, and usually, any entity involved in design, manufacture or distribution could be held liable. The claims include:
- Design defect. This is when it is alleged there is a flaw in the product’s design. Rather than a batch of the product being defective, the entire line is inherently dangerous, regardless of the fact that it may have been manufactured exactly as instructed.
- Manufacturing defect. This occurs when the product is somehow made or manufactured differently than all the other products on that line. For example, if a bicycle is built with a small crack in the frame and the consumer rides it and it breaks, causing injury, rider would have a manufacturing defect claim.
- Failure to provide adequate warning/ instruction. This would be applicable when a product lacked proper warnings or instructions regarding safe use or known dangers. Failure to warn claims arise when there is a danger that is not obvious to consumers.
It should be noted that while it can be tougher to prevail in a product liability claim if you were using the product inappropriately, if your wrongful use of it was foreseeable, defendants could still be held liable by a bicycle defect attorney at our Fort Lauderdale firm.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (954) 761-4011 or toll-free at (888) ANSARA-8.