March 17, 2020, PLLR News | The American Association For Justice

March 17, 2020, PLLR News

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Failure to warn of bicycle headlight dangers

photo of a bike's headlight

After a woman was thrown over the handlebars of her bicycle, she sued the manufacturer of a headlight attached to the tapered front fork of the bike, alleging failure to warn that such placement could cause the headlight to become entangled in the bicycle’s spokes. The parties settled for more than $14.24 million. Doe v. Roe Bicycle Mfr.
 

Doe, a 33-year-old graduate student, was riding her bicycle on a Seattle street when her front tire suddenly locked up. She was thrown over the bicycle’s handlebars and struck her helmeted head on the pavement. She suffered injuries that prevented her from continuing her graduate work for one-and-a-half years.

Doe sued the manufacturer of a headlight that was attached to the tapered front fork of her bicycle, alleging failure to warn that such placement could cause the headlight to become entangled in the bicycle’s spokes. The plaintiff also sued the manufacturer and designer of the bicycle’s V-stays—which attach to the fender and are used to protect a rider from debris—alleging liability for failure to warn and defective design of the V-stays, which promoted entanglement and caused the bicycle’s fender to be pulled down, causing Doe to be pitched over the handlebars. Finally, suit alleged a local bike shop was liable for negligent installation of the headlight.

The parties settled for more than $14.24 million.

Citation: Doe v. Roe Bicycle Mfr., Undisclosed Dkt. No. (Wash. Super. Ct. King Cty. Sept. 2019).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ members James S. Rogers and Heather M. Cover, both of Seattle; AAJ member Daniel A. Rottier, Milwaukee; and AAJ member Eric Ryberg, Madison, Wis.

Plaintiff experts: Scott Ganaja, mechanical engineering, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Mark Lawrence, mechanical engineering, Aurora, Ill.; Robert Caldwell, accident reconstruction, Lafayette, Colo.; Anthony Choppa, life care planning, Bothell, Wash.; and Christina Tapia, economics, Seattle.

Defense experts: David Lundin, neurosurgery, Renton, Wash.; Gerald Bretting, mechanical engineering, El Segundo, Calif.; Patrick Logan, product design, Eugene, Ore.; and David Solis, economics, and William Skilling, vocational rehabilitation, both of Seattle.