Riding your bicycle in Northern California requires a certain level of experience with the bike itself. While equipment can vary from person to person, the vast majority of bicycles operate the same way. With that said, there’s always the chance that certain parts of your bike can be defective or malfunction while you’re riding, which can lead to serious accidents.
At Paceline Law, our bicycle accident team knows how to help you in this unfortunate situation. When you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by defective parts, we’ll be there to guide you through the legal process. Don’t wait–contact us today for a free consultation.
Liability For Defective Part Bicycle Accidents
Even if there’s no one else involved, being in a bicycle accident that’s outside of your control means someone–or a company–is liable for causing the accident and its resulting damage and harm.
Generally speaking, this legal responsibility–known as liability–is determined by establishing negligence. In a typical bicycle accident, this will fall on the driver of a car or another person that did something to cause the accident. However, when there’s a defective or malfunctioning brake or wheel, liability falls on the manufacturer. Negligence, in this context, is shown by:
- The bicycle or part manufacturer had a duty of care to you and the public when they made the bike.
- They breached this duty in designing or putting out a defective bike or part.
- This breach was the direct cause of the accident in question.
- You suffered injuries and other damages as a result of the accident.
While the manufacturer has the bulk of the liability in these accidents, others can be involved as well. This is especially true if the accident occurs in heavy traffic or a crowded area. With that in mind, other drivers or entities could be involved and share some responsibility. If that’s the case, then the legal process will be a bit more complicated. Before you get to that, though, you’ll need to know how to properly respond to these accidents.
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident With a Defective Part
A bicycle accident is almost always frustrating, but even more so when there’s a defective part involved. However, due to these circumstances, it’s especially important to make sure that you have extensive documentation and take certain steps after the accident. Here’s what you should do:
- Seek medical care – As with any accident, the first priority after a collision caused by a defective bicycle part is seeking medical care. This not only helps assess the extent of injuries but also establishes a treatment plan and creates a clear medical record for potential legal actions or insurance claims.
- Speak to any witnesses – Witnesses play a crucial role in providing an accurate account of the incident, especially when a defective part is involved. Their testimony becomes vital if liability is in dispute or if the accident occurred during a race or group cycling event with multiple witnesses.
- Gather information – Make sure to take down details about the defective bicycle part. While getting this information may be more challenging than in accidents involving cars, basic details about the part and any available markings are important for showing the issue.
- Document the scene – If possible, document the scene by taking photos and videos. Capture images of the area, your injuries, and any damage to your bike caused by the defective part. This documentation serves as crucial evidence for insurance claims or potential personal injury lawsuits.
- Avoid making repairs – Perhaps the most important step is to keep your bike and equipment in the same condition as after the accident. Insurance companies may want to inspect the damage caused by the defective part before settling any claims, so make sure to keep from repairing or altering anything.
While these steps are essential, having the right support is also crucial for your claim involving a defective bicycle part. While there’s no legal requirement to have a lawyer for such a claim, our experienced team understands how to approach defective bicycle parts claims, and can significantly simplify the process for you.
In California, the statute of limitations for bicycle accidents maintains that a claim must be filed within two years from the accident date.
Within this time frame, you have the option to enter the legal process, either by filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit. Regardless of which option you choose, you can potentially recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages in specific cases
How Can Our Team Help You in These Cases?
If you’re making a claim for a bicycle accident caused by a defective part, it’s important to know that each case is different. The final result depends on specific details, how your claim moves through the legal process, and even factors like how much you might be at fault. This is a crucial part of how we help you. We understand that the process of making a claim can take a long time and be challenging. We make sure to be patient and keep you updated on your case’s progress. However, we help in a variety of other ways:
- Gathering evidence – We start by carefully collecting essential evidence, such as medical records and accident reports. This groundwork is crucial for building a strong case in your favor.
- Negotiating with insurance companies – We handle discussions with the insurance companies representing the other parties involved in the accident. Our goal is to reach a fair agreement that gets you the financial support you need to recover from your injuries.
- Starting the legal process – If negotiations don’t lead to a fair settlement, we guide you through the preparation and filing of a formal Complaint against the responsible party. This step officially kicks off the legal process and gives us the authority to pursue your case in court.
- Representation in court – We are committed to representing your interests in court, working to uphold your rights and presenting compelling evidence to support your claim.
- Trial preparation – In cases where a fair settlement is not agreed upon, we are prepared to take your case to trial. Here, we present your case before a judge and jury, who will make an impartial decision based on the merits of your situation.
It’s important to remember that every case proceeds differently, no matter how similar they are. Thus, how your case moves along is going to depend on the facts and circumstances. It may resolve quickly or it could take longer. Regardless, our team will be with you throughout the entire process.
Experience in Northern California Defective Part Bicycle Accidents
When you or someone you care about has been hurt in a bicycle accident in Northern California, you need experience and support. At Paceline Law, we’ll provide all that and more. With our experience and guidance, you can rest assured that your rights will be protected and you’ll get the financial consideration you need.
To get the process started, contact us today for a free consultation.