5 things to know if you sue for falling off a misassembled bike in Nevada

Posted by Neil Shouse | May 06, 2018 | 0 Comments

Just this past March, a Las Vegas jury awarded $19 million to the family of a man killed on a defective bicycle. A flaw in the bike's aerodynamic design caused the victim to be swept under a bus.[1]

Bicycles may seem like simple devices, but they have dozens of components that work in tandem. If one is slightly faulty, it could cause the bike to malfunction and the cyclist to lose control. And these faults may form the basis of a significant Nevada personal injury lawsuit.

1. Defective Bicycle Lawsuits in Nevada

Bike manufacturers have the duty to keep their products free of dangerous defects. There are three main types of products liability lawsuits that victims can bring in Nevada when they have been injured by a defective bike.

  1. defective design,
  2. manufacturing defect, and
  3. lack of adequate warnings or instructions.

1) Defective Design

A defective design occurs when the design of the product was inherently unsafe. So the manufacturer was destined to creative a defective product because the engineer's design was problematic from the get-go.

Courts rely on the Consumer Expectations Standard to determine whether there has been a design error. The Consumer Expectations Test concerns whether the product is more hazardous than a reasonable consumer would expect it to be.[2]

2) Manufacturing Defect

A manufacturing defect is when the product's design was safe, but that the manufacturer made a mistake when executing the construction of the product.

In these cases, the victims' attorneys often investigate whether the manufacturer cut corners by using lower quality materials in order to reduce costs. Under Nevada's strict liability laws, It makes no difference if the manufacturer had no intention for the bike to cause any injuries.

3) Failure to Warn

Failure to warn is when the product contains insufficient instructions about how to use the product safely. Courts use the reasonable person test to determine whether the victim could have avoided injury by taking common-sense precautions.[3]

2. Money Damages for Defective Bicycle Injuries

The trauma of a bike accident and injuries can take a large physical, emotional, social, and even professional toll on the victim. Depending on the circumstances, an injured party can sue for compensatory damages to cover:

If the case goes to trial, the court may impose hefty punitive damages as well.

3. Liable Parties in Defective Bicycle Lawsuits in Nevada

Depending on the case, there may be several parties potentially liable for the defective bike. These include:

  • The bicycle manufacturer
  • The manufacturer of the bicycle part that failed
  • The company that assembled the bicycle (if different than the manufacturer)
  • The bicycle wholesaler
  • The bicycle distributor
  • The retailer which sold the bicycle to the victim
  • A repair shop that last worked on the bike

4. Defective Bicycle Injuries

Bicycle accidents can cause serious injuries, especially if the accident involved collisions with an automobile or concrete. Some of the medical conditions that ER doctors see following a bike accident include:

5. Defective Bicycles Parts

Defective parts such as the following can cause devastating accidents:

  • Breaks
  • Handlebars
  • Wheels
  • Frame
  • Sensors
  • Faceplate

Other defects such as improper welding, cracking, and fork failure can also result in an accident.

Examples of defective bike models or parts that have been recalled include:

  • Aerobars handlebars: Carbon and alloy handlebars from 2012 through 2015 on Specialized Shiv. The bolt that fastened the handlebars could be loosened.
  • Marin Mountain Bikes: 2014 400 MBX 50. The handlebars could be loosened and could separate from the bike.
  • Felt Cyclocross: 2015 F65X and F85X models. The frame was breakable.

Learn more about dangerous products lawsuits in Nevada.

Legal References:

  1. David Ferrara, Jury awards $19M to family of Las Vegas surgeon killed on bike, Las Vegas Review-Journal (March 27, 2018).
  2. Ford Motor Company v. Teresa Gacia Trejo, 133 Nev., Advance Opinion 68, No. 67843 (Sept. 27, 2017).
  3. See, e.g., Sims v. General Telephone & Electronics, 815 P.2d 151 (1991).

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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