Understanding Products Liability Law and Bicycle Accidents
When bicycles or any of their many parts malfunction, a rider may fall from the bicycle or lose control of the bicycle and strike a car, another cyclist or a stationary object such as a guardrail, sign, or tree. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) alerts consumers to recalls after a product has been deemed unsafe. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident caused by a defective bicycle or defective bicycle part, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact in attorney if you were hurt in a accident involving a recalled bicycle or any accident that you believe was caused in whole or in part by a malfunctioning part of the bike, such as the handlebars, frame, bicycle seat post, or fork steerer tubes. An attorney can explain your legal options and rights to compensation.
Defective Bicycles and CPSC Recalls
Bicycles, like so many other products, have a long history of defective engineering and defective manufacturing. In 2009, the CPSC announced more than a dozen recalls of bicycles, bicycle accessories, and bicycle parts due to serious hazards and injury potential. These recalls include about 24,000 bicycle chains and chain connector links recalled by SRAM due to fall hazard (September 8, 2009), about 120 Cannibal bicycles recalled by Nirve Sports due to fall hazard (August 19, 2009), about 1,500 Felt F1X Cyclocross bicycles recalled by Felt Bicycles due to fall hazard (August 19, 2009), about 3,600 Norco bicycle frames recalled by Norco Performance Bikes due to crash hazard (May 19, 2009), and about 1,300 Cannondale road bicycles recalled by Cannondale Bicycle Corporation due to fall hazard (March 17, 2009). This list is just a few – for more information, check out the recall list on the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov.
Preserving Evidence: Keep the Bike
If you have been hurt in a bicycle accident, do not discard of the bike or have it repaired until you have talked to an attorney. The bicycle is an important piece of evidence. You have the best chance of recovering compensation from the manufacturer and other parties if you can demonstrate that the bicycle or a part of it was defective. Your attorney will consult with an engineer or other expert to make this determination. You can help your attorney and will have your best chance at obtaining compensation if you hold onto the bicycle until it can be inspected by an expert.
What to Do if You Have Been Injured
If you are involved in an accident and suffer an injury, contact an attorney as soon as possible after your immediate medical needs have been met. You may be entitled to compensation from the bicycle’s manufacturer for your medical expenses, lost earnings related to your injuries, and general pain and suffering. Most bicycle accident lawyers offer free consultations and do not charge a fee unless they recover money for your case. As stated above, keep the bicycle, any accessories (such as a helmet) and any other evidence. If you are able to safely do so, take pictures of the scene of the accident.