Product manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their products are free from dangerous defects. Product engineers, like those who design bikes, also have a duty to do so in a way that prevents the bike from becoming dangerous. Despite the precautions taken to manufacture an item, defective products do manage to end up in the hands of consumers who are injured by them. If you are adversely affected by a defective bicycle in Pennsylvania, the state has product liability laws that can help.
There are three main categories of product liability defects: defective design, manufacturing defect, and lack of adequate warnings or instructions.
In cases where the engineer made an error or overlooked a potential danger, the court looks at two important standards when determining product liability: the Consumer Expectations Standard and the Risk-Utility Standard. The first asks whether the product is more dangerous than a reasonable consumer would expect. For example, a reasonable consumer would expect a knife blade to be sharp and would take precautions in preventing injury by the blade. However, a sharp bike pedal or protruding metal part would not be expected by the average consumer and couldn’t be avoided with good care. The second standard concerns whether the injury resulting from the bike was severe enough or likely enough to have outweighed the burden of taking precautions against the injury’s occurrence. For example, if the designer knew an alternative design would have been less dangerous, or he or she didn’t anticipate the injury, but the injury was severe enough to cause extensive bodily harm to an individual, the designer should have taken precautions against potential damage.
When manufacturers make errors or use cheaper materials to cut costs, those flaws in the product can cause serious damage. Manufacturing defect claims involve strict liability, which means the manufacturer did not have to intend to injure you or know of the defect in the product. Instead, your attorney will have to show that the product was defective and its flaw caused your injury. For example, if a bike had a major component that was left out during the manufacturing process, the manufacturer would be responsible for your injury.
In some cases, products are dangerous no matter how well they are designed - like obvious products such as knives or weaponry. Other products, however, do not come with adequate warning labels or instructions for use, which can cause people to injure themselves if they are unfamiliar with how to use the product. Many manufacturers use warnings to prevent this from happening, such as tags warning of choking hazards, hot elements, toxic components, and so on. Forgoing these labels can open a manufacturer up to liability suits when someone is injured by their products. In the case of bikes, if people are unfamiliar with how to treat a bicycle, the product could cause injuries. However, it may be more difficult to prove liability in a lawsuit if a reasonable person could have avoided injury by taking precautions.
For more information about product liability, contact Metzger Wickersham at (888) 286-2850. If you were injured in a bicycle accident caused by a defective product, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and damaged property resulting from the incident. For nearly 130 years, our firm has been helping people in a broad range of legal matters. Our Harrisburg personal injury attorneys are committed to assisting people secure the compensation they need to make a difference in their quality of life. Let us see what we can do for you.
To get a case started today, contact us at (888) 286-2850 or fill out our online form to schedule your free case consultation.