Here's a question we recently received:
My son fell off his bike when one of the pedals detached from the bike. As a result, he broke his arm and may need surgery. We just bought the bike. Is there anything we can do?
ANSWER: Yes, your son may have legal rights and may be able to sue the responsible parties if the bike was defective. There are a couple of parties who are potentially liable.
The bicycle manufacturer may be held liable for your son's injuries and damages if the bike was defective. The bike can be defective in 3 ways under Pennsylvania dangerous products law, also known as products liability law.
First, if the bicycle was designed defectively, i.e., the bike could have been safer if designed in another way that would prevent the pedal from detaching from the bike, then the bike manufacturer will be liable.
Second, if the bicycle was manufactured defectively, i.e., there is nothing wrong with the design, but somehow in the manufacturing process, a certain number of bikes were made defectively. For instance, a part was supposed to be used to secure the pedal but was not for whatever reason.
Lastly, if the bicycle lacked proper instructions or warnings, then the manufacturer will also be held liable.
Another party that may be liable is a sporting goods store. Many consumers buy bicycles from sporting goods stores that offer to assemble the bicycles for the riders. If the bicycles are assembled negligently, i.e., missing a screw that caused the pedal to detach from the bike, then the sporting goods store is responsible for your son's accident and injuries.
Because your son is a minor, you will have to file the lawsuit on behalf of your son. If so, you will have to file the lawsuit within 2 years of his accident. This is PA's statute of limitations law. It sets the time period in which an injured victim must file a lawsuit after an accident. After he turns 18, he may file a lawsuit. However, he will only have 2 years from the day he turns 18 to file a lawsuit.
PA dangerous products cases are very complex. It is best to consult with a lawyer to discuss your son's case. Feel free to call me and schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396
To learn more about dangerous consumer products in PA, access our legal article: What Is A Dangerous Product? What Makes A Product Dangerous Or Defective?