Bicycle accidents are becoming all too common these days thanks to a number of factors. Some tragic situations are caused by manufacturing issues. Such was the case with several accidents caused by Trek Bicycle Corporation’s products. Faulty brakes attached to a number of their bicycles resulted in one person being paralyzed for life.
Because the recalls happened in April 2015 and the faulty bikes were sold long before that, it is not known how many personal injury lawsuits may be filed as a result of related, bicycle accidents. Trek Bicycle Corporation wasn’t the only manufacturer in the cycling industry to issue recalls in the last several months either. There were others, including but limited to brands like Felt, Civia, Shiv, Vanish Evo, Marin Mountain Bikes and Zipp.
The list of defects that prompted the assorted recalls varied. Some of the production problems involved handle bars, wheels, helmet straps, frames and seats. At this time, it is not known how many bicycle accidents, if any, occurred as a result of those other problems. It is also unknown whether or not personal injury lawsuits have been filed on the behalf of any alleged victims against the other manufacturers that we mentioned.
Of course bicycle manufacturers are not the only ones that may be liable for accidents. Additional elements, like environmental factors, cyclists’ errors and motor vehicle drivers’ actions may play a critical role in assigning liability in bicycle accident cases as well. In 2014, the LA Times published an article about bicycle accidents that helps make our point. It noted an increase in accident rates and attributed some of the incidents to factors like cycling or driving impaired.
It is also critical to mention that bicycle accident cases are often impacted by a myriad of state laws. There are so many laws, in fact, that a lot of national cycling organizations devote entire sections of their websites to making cyclists aware of liability issues. Similar may be said for State Department of Motor Vehicles’ offices, who often publish entire books for both cyclists and motor vehicle operators on the rules of the road.
When bicycle accidents occur, participants should take action to protect themselves, their personal property and others from further harm. It is also necessary to extensively document the events leading up to, during and after the cycling accident for possible inclusion in personal injury or criminal cases. However, that information should be shared with no one except a personal injury or criminal attorney willing to represent the person doing the sharing.
Notes taken after bicycle accidents should ideally contain as much detail and verifiable evidence as possible. They should also focus solely on fact and not conjecture. For example, it is not merely enough to accuse another person of being impaired. Documentation about the person’s impairment should be provided to back that statement up. The list of backup materials includes, but is not limited to emergency room technician’s notes, toxicology reports and statements from first responders or officers called in to interview bicycle accident participants.
To learn more about the nationwide increase in bicycle accidents and how victims may benefit from legal counsel, please contact us.