Bike injuries happen on a daily basis, but not every bike-related incident is due to a fall or collision with another rider, vehicle, and/or stationary object. In fact, many bike injuries are caused by defects or faults with the bike parts or the design of the bike itself. For instance, a bike crash may occur when a cyclist cannot stop their bike because its brakes malfunction. 

Some other common types of bicycle product defects include:

  • The foot pedals detach from the body of the bicycle or snap in half, which can cause a cyclist to fall; 
  • The bike chain breaks, does not fit the track, or is not well-oiled; 
  • If the cross bar (also known as a top tube) is bent or separates from the head tube or stem, it can become a steering hazard; 
  • The bike is sold without proper instructions or effective warning labels for consumer use; 
  • There are issues with the bike seat (e.g., it is not secured to the main frame or wobbles);
  • The bike tires or training wheels on a kid’s bike are defective (e.g., they are crooked, blow-out easily, etc.); and
  • Various other kinds of design, manufacturing, and/or warning defects.

The injuries that can result from the bicycle product defects in the above list may be more serious than a simple scratch, depending on the model of the bike and the cycling activity that the rider is engaged in at the time the injury occurred. 

For example, a rider can suffer life-altering injuries from bikes used in extreme sport activities (e.g., BMX bikes), while mountain biking, or when participating in a cycling race like the LoToJa Classic or a Grand Tour. 

Bicycle accidents caused by product defects can also result in damage to real estate or property, such as if a rider crashes into their neighbor’s mailbox or hits a parked car. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike accident that you believe was caused by a product defect, you may want to consider contacting a local personal injury lawyer for further legal advice. A personal injury lawyer will be able to determine if there are grounds to bring a products liability lawsuit against the bike manufacturer or distributor, and if so, can help you to recover damages for your injuries. 

Who Can be Held Liable for a Bike Injury Caused by a Product Defect?

In general, there are several parties who may be held liable in a standard products liability lawsuit. These parties include the product’s designer, manufacturer, distributor, retailer, and/or wholesaler. Some of these parties may be combined if they do more than one function. For example, a designer and a manufacturer may be the same party in some cases. Alternatively, a wholesaler may distribute a product and vice versa. 

Collectively, the five parties listed above are known as the active participants in the chain of distribution. The phrase “chain of distribution” simply refers to the path that a product takes to get from its creator to the consumer.

Specifically, when it comes to defects found in bicycles and bicycle parts, it is typically the manufacturer of the bike that will be legally responsible for any resulting harm done to consumers or to property. In other cases, the party who sold or distributed the bike may be held liable for the injuries. 

For instance, if a distributor or commercial seller knew or should have known that a bike product was dangerous, but sold it to a consumer regardless, then the consumer may be able to sue them for injuries caused by the defect in the bike or its parts. A common example of this type of occurrence is when a bike retailer knows that a particular bicycle model was subject to a recall, yet failed to remove that bike from their store or inventory. 

Are There any Legal Remedies for a Bike Injury Cause by a Product Defect?

The types of legal remedies that a plaintiff may be able to recover in the event of a bike injury that is caused by a defective bike product will primarily depend on the laws of the state where the bike accident occurred, the facts of the plaintiff’s case, and the legal claim that forms the basis of the lawsuit.

In general, however, the majority of cases involving bicycle product defects typically result in a monetary damages award. Again, the amount of the award will be contingent on the above factors (e.g., the circumstances surrounding a plaintiff’s case) and may be increased or decreased in accordance with a court’s discretion. It is also important to note that the plaintiff must be able to prove and prevail on the lawsuit before they can recover any kind of remedy.

Some examples of legal remedies that are commonly awarded for bike injuries caused by bicycle product defects include:

    • Special damages: Special damages refer to the amount of money that a plaintiff receives to cover any out-of-pocket expenses they had to pay for as a result of their injuries. These include items, such as hospital bills, medical costs, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and so forth.

 

    • General damages: A plaintiff may also receive general damages to make up for injuries that are not as straightforward or quantifiable like emotional distress, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of reputation. 

 

    • Punitive damages: In rare instances, the court may issue a punitive damages award when a manufacturer or other party has behaved in such an egregious or appalling manner that the court believes they deserve an extra penalty. It should be noted that state laws vary on the amount that can be awarded in punitive damages and whether they recognize such a remedy at all in these types of lawsuits.

 

Additionally, bicycle product defects that cause injuries to numerous consumers (as opposed to only one) tend to lead to class action products liability lawsuits. In such cases, the plaintiffs in a class action will split the amount of damages awarded if they win the case or settle the matter in their favor. Therefore, the remedies awarded to injured consumers in a class action lawsuit may differ from those that are issued to an individual plaintiff in a single lawsuit.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Bike Injury Claim Involving a Product Defect?

Products liability lawsuits are often extremely difficult to handle without a legal expert. Such lawsuits tend to involve a complex combination of laws and a precise application of those laws since many decisions are heavily dependent on the facts of each case. Thus, if you have been injured as a result of a bicycle product defect and believe you have a case, then it may be in your best interest to speak to a local class action lawyer for further legal guidance. 

An experienced class action lawyer will be able to determine whether you have a viable claim that you can bring against the bike manufacturer or distributor, can discuss your options for legal recourse, and can explain what types of remedies you may be able to recover based on the circumstances. Your lawyer can also inform you of your rights under the law and can answer any questions you may have about your case.

Additionally, your lawyer will be able to draft any necessary legal documents for your case, can assist you in preparing and filing those documents in the proper court, and can ensure that all procedural requirements are met. Your lawyer can also provide representation in court or at a settlement conference. Lastly, if applicable to your case, your lawyer can initiate a class action on your behalf as well.