Who Is Liable for a Bicyclists Injuries

If you are injured because your bicycle broke while you were riding it, can you sue the manufacturer for negligence for a defective product?

To have a sound negligence claim you must prove that a defect in the product existed and that the defect was caused by the manufacturer's negligence. In addition, you must prove that any injuries were a direct result of an accident caused by the defective product.

Strict Liability for Defective Product
A manufacturer may be liable for injury caused by a defective product under the legal theory of strict liability. This usually applies to cases when the proper use of a defective material causes its user injury. In this type of case, you would have to prove that:

  • The bicycle was dangerous because it was defective
  • The defect existed when the bicycle was sold
  • The defect caused the user's injury
  • The user properly used the bicycle

Negligence
When proving that the bicycle manufacturer's negligence contributed to your injuries, you must take the manufacturer's conduct into account. With strict liability, you need only prove that the product was defective. Whereas with negligence, you must prove that the product manufacturer failed to use proper care.

Whether To File A Claim
Some questions that you might want to consider before deciding on filing a claim are:

  • Was the injury caused solely by the defective product?
  • What was the defect?
  • Are the defendants identifiable?
  • What is the possible recovery?

Possible Defendants
In a bicycle injury case there may be a number of parties who could be liable:

  • Designer
  • Parts Manufacturer
  • Distributor
  • Assembler
  • Retailer

Possible Defenses
If you do file a claim, the defendants may attempt to avoid liability by using defenses that may allege that you:

  • Assumed a risk of injury by riding the bicycle
  • Had a pre-existing condition that caused the injury
  • Were injured because of improperly using the bicycle
  • Did not file the claim until after the statute had expired (making the claim invalid)

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