Asked in Personal Injury and Products Liability for Illinois

Q: while cycling a part of the fork shot into my eye, my eye had to be removed and could not be saved, is this case solvabl

While I was riding the thread on the right upper part got loose and part of the fork shot out. The pressurized part hit firstly my face (my cheekbone was broken) and then it hit my right eye so badly that it damaged my eye completely (eye nerve was damaged, eye was broken onto 3 parts, lower eyelid completely damaged & upper eyelid is sewn).

I was told by the doctors that I lost my right eye and I will need an eye prosthesis. They told me that I had a luck that day because if the part would hit my eye straightly I wouldn´t survive most probably. is it possible to resolve this case with the manufacturer?

3 Lawyer Answers

A: It sounds like you have sustained damages from the part coming off sufficient to justify a product’s liability action.

I would take the bicycle and fork part to a competent lawyer in the county where the incident happened with experience in products liability law. Also bring your medical bills.

If the lawyer accepts your case, he will likely need to hire experts to determine why the part flew off. This may include a metallurgist. Why it came off will be a significant issue in any lawsuit that will almost certainly require expert testimony.

Lindsey Seeskin
Lindsey Seeskin
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: I'm truly sorry to hear you were so badly injured.

John is correct about what we call "damages" (your injuries and what you have been through because of this incident) and that this falls under a category of personal injury cases called "products liability."

Whether a viable products liability case exists will therefore depend on other factors. Those factors include the make/model/year of your bicycle, what specific part of the fork broke off, how and why it broke off, the bike's history and use, etc. The success of a products liability case will depend upon proving liability by a company (versus a bad/freak accident) for what happened and sticking within applicable time deadlines for filing a lawsuit.

David Wolkowitz agrees with this answer

David Wolkowitz
David Wolkowitz
  • Skokie, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: I'm sorry you were badly injured.

As a former bike messenger and avid cyclist, I definitely understand what you are talking about. You apparently were using a bike that had shocks as the front fork, with the shock absorption being provided by air pressure.

As the other attorneys have pointed out, whether or not you could sue the manufacturer in a products liability case depends on various factors. For example, if the problem occurred because of a defect in manufacturing or design, you might have a decent case. However, your case would be worse if the bike was old, and the shocks were obviously worn out and in disrepair (nothing is supposed to last forever, of course).

However, in addition to a products liability case, you potentially could have a case against a bike repair shop that negligently repaired your bike. For example, you might be able to recover financial damages if a bike shop adjusted your fork, and did so negligently, thereby causing you to be injured.

You might also look into whether or not you have any insurance that might cover your injury, such as homeowners or umbrella insurance.

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