Bicyclists depend on their helmets to prevent serious brain and head injuries in a fall. But a defective helmet may not offer sufficient protection, resulting in serious — even fatal — head injuries.
Bicycle Helmet Manufacturers Must Meet Federal Safety Standards
Unlike many consumer products, bicycle helmets must meet mandatory safety standards. Under the Children’s Bicycle Helmet Safety Act of 1994, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC),established regulations that cover the construction, performance, testing, certification and labeling of bicycle helmets.
The standard subjects a helmet to a series of visual, impact and positional stability tests with the helmet on a headform. They require that the bicycle helmet:
- Does not block the cyclist’s peripheral vision
- Stays fixed to the headform during an impact
- Mitigates the impact to the headform
In addition, the regulations require companies to provide warnings and instructions on how to properly fit the helmet, along with labels on the helmet certifying that it meets these mandatory safety standards.
The CPSC helps publicize manufacturers’ voluntary recalls and has the regulatory authority to compel a manufacturer to recall a defective product. Bicycle helmets can be recalled for:
- Failure to pass impact protection test requirements
- Loose chin straps, buckles, fasteners that allow the helmet to come off in an impact
- Buckles or straps that break
- Hard outer shell cracking on impact
- Insufficient interior padding or lining
In March 2013, Bell Sports Inc. recalled 2,500 BMX helmets for defective safety straps. The Bell Full Throttle was a full coverage bicycle motocross (BMX) helmet with a chin bar. The recall noted that “the buckle on the helmet’s safety strap could release in an accident and allow the helmet to fall off the rider, posing a risk of head injury.”
In January 2012, Triple Eight recalled 30,400 Little Tricky helmets marketed to children and youth as bicycle and multi-purpose helmets, after product testing showed that they didn’t comply with CPSC safety standards for impact resistance.
Filing a Products Liability Lawsuit
You may be able to hold a manufacturer legally liable if the company sold a defective helmet that did not meet federal safety standards and harmed you or a loved one. To win your case, your defective bicycle helmet product lability claim must prove the following elements:
- The helmet had a design or manufacturing defect.
- The defective condition rendered the product unreasonably dangerous .
- You did not substantially change the helmet to affect its condition.
- You were using your helmet as the manufacturer intended when you sustained an injury.
- You suffered an injury because of your bicycle helmet.
Depending on the circumstances, you may also have a claim that the manufacturer failed to provide adequate instructions or warnings and that the defendant breached the helmet’s warranties.
Newsome Melton’s legal team will help you collect evidence that strengthens your product liability claim. That evidence includes:
- The Helmet – This is a key piece of evidence – keep your helmet to show its condition after your accident. Even if your helmet shattered in the crash, collect as many pieces as possible from the scene.
- Accident and Injury Photos – Take photos of the location where your incident took place and your injuries. The photos may also show where your helmet landed if it came off of your head when you fell off your bike.
- Medical Records — These detail the severity and extent of the injuries you sustained.
- Compliance Test Records – We may also request the manufacturer’s compliance tests performed on the helmet in the crash. The CPSC requires companies to keep test records for at least three years after the certification date of the last bicycle helmet in each production lot.
Filing a Product Liability Claim
Depending on the circumstances of your accident and the severity of your injuries, we may file a product liability claim or a lawsuit. Newsome Melton has been successful in negotiating settlements of defective product claims. However, when the defendants – the manufacturer, retailer, or distributor — refuse to negotiate a fair settlement, we may file a product liability lawsuit.
After a thorough review of your case, we can discuss the monetary value of your claim and the compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries and other damages. For instance, bike accidents can cause traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and skull injuries, which may require ongoing medical care, physical therapy, and assistive devices to help your mobility. We will take those needs into account when estimating the value of your case.
The current and future damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Inpatient rehabilitation
- Physical therapy
- Medical mobility devices
- Prescription drugs
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
At Newsome Melton, we pursue full and fair compensation for your losses. Our attorneys are committed to getting justice for those who have been injured by defective products. We work on contingency, which means you do not pay us unless we recover compensation for your case.
Call Newsome Melton today at 888-808-5977 for a free case evaluation with a defective bicycle helmet lawyer.