Liability claim
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Thread: Liability claim

  1. #1
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    Liability claim

    On my way to work last Friday on my commuter bike. Suddenly front wheel collapsed and I'm flying over the handlebars. Broken collarbone.
    The wheels are pretty new DT Swiss wheels ridden less than 60 miles. Seems like the welding of the rim was defective and broke apart.
    Does anybody have experience running liability claims against a brand?
    Is it practically impossible to make them recognize the flaw or do they have a process for clear cases like this?
    I am located in Europe.

    Thanks
    Last edited by aske; 04-19-2019 at 05:01 AM.

  2. #2
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    Get some really good close pictures of the weld where the rim failed.

    Then contact the shop where you purchased. Be prepared to send photo's to the manufacturer or to have the shop do the same.

    It's not common for rims to catastrophically fail (unless it's carbon) so the big question is going to be "what did you hit" and if indeed you can show that it's a failure at the seam, then they should replace.

    Liability and payment for medical, pain, suffering, etc.. is a legal issue. Have you homeowners insurance ?, maybe contact them for advice.

  3. #3
    tlg
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    Sorry to hear about your crash. Hope you're not too injured.

    In the U.S., (and I'm sure Europe), there's only one route. GET A LAWYER.

    Is it practically impossible to make them recognize the flaw or do they have a process for clear cases like this?
    Unless you can find a pattern of this failure among other users, you'll have a tough go. I'm 99% sure their response to you will be you hit a pot hole.

    Seems like the welding of the rim was defective and broke apart.
    Can you take some close up pictures of the break? It does look like a clean break.
    To pursue a liability claim, you'll probably need to have it inspected by a licensed professional engineer.
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  4. #4
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    This sounds weird. If the weld on the rim joint was that bad it would have been very obvious to the wheel builder while bring the wheel up to tension. We're not getting the whole story here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    This sounds weird. If the weld on the rim joint was that bad it would have been very obvious to the wheel builder while bring the wheel up to tension. We're not getting the whole story here.
    Right? Spoke tension pulls the seam of the rim together. Even if the weld failed, it usually wouldn't cause a catastrophic failure like that. Prior to welded seams, rims were just pinned together. Something else failed, causing the weld to fail when the wheel came apart.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    This sounds weird. If the weld on the rim joint was that bad it would have been very obvious to the wheel builder while bring the wheel up to tension. We're not getting the whole story here.
    You're getting the story I have so far. Due to my condition I haven't inspected the wheel in complete detail yet.
    The wheel has never done any off road riding. Has only been used for commute on smooth tarmac and has ridden less than 60 miles in total. I only have a ca 2 mile commute to work and only started using it recently.
    I am not a wheel expert, so I don't know what could cause this issue. The failing weld was just an uneducated guess.
    From the accident, I remember starting to loose control of the bike and then hearing a loud bang from the tire exploding and then face first over the handlebar. This happened on very smooth tarmac and on a bicycle path with good room. Really, out of the blue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aske View Post
    You're getting the story I have so far. Due to my condition I haven't inspected the wheel in complete detail yet.
    The wheel has never done any off road riding. Has only been used for commute on smooth tarmac and has ridden less than 60 miles in total. I only have a ca 2 mile commute to work and only started using it recently.
    I am not a wheel expert, so I don't know what could cause this issue. The failing weld was just an uneducated guess.
    From the accident, I remember starting to loose control of the bike and then hearing a loud bang from the tire exploding and then face first over the handlebar. This happened on very smooth tarmac and on a bicycle path with good room. Really, out of the blue.
    Discussion of liability seems a bit premature if you haven't even inspected the wheel yet. Sounds like a simple blowout to me ...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by aske View Post
    I remember starting to loose control of the bike and then hearing a loud bang from the tire exploding and then face first over the handlebar.
    It could have been the tire sidewall giving way, from defect, a cut from road debris, or over inflation. It could have been striking an object the caused the lose of control followed by a tire blowout. The rim damage might be a consequence of the crash, not the cause. It might have been due to a bad build where one side lost tension causing the wheel to collapse.

    Regardless of cause, in the US you would have trouble getting a ruling of liability against anyone, given the possible causes pointing to many sources, including user error and hazards of the road. European law, dunno. I would guess the same.

    Unless you can find someone with some expertise to claim, on the record, that there was a manufacturing defect (possible if there was one) OR assembly defect (really hard to do given a messed up wheel), I don't think even consulting legal representation would be worth it.

    There are lawyers who will try to sue anyone, regardless of evidence, hoping for a quick settlement. They, and people who use them are scum.
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  9. #9
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    Almost sounds to me like the tire flatted followed by the rim damage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    It could have been the tire sidewall giving way, from defect, a cut from road debris, or over inflation. It could have been striking an object the caused the lose of control followed by a tire blowout. The rim damage might be a consequence of the crash, not the cause. It might have been due to a bad build where one side lost tension causing the wheel to collapse.

    Regardless of cause, in the US you would have trouble getting a ruling of liability against anyone, given the possible causes pointing to many sources, including user error and hazards of the road. European law, dunno. I would guess the same.

    Unless you can find someone with some expertise to claim, on the record, that there was a manufacturing defect (possible if there was one) OR assembly defect (really hard to do given a messed up wheel), I don't think even consulting legal representation would be worth it.

    There are lawyers who will try to sue anyone, regardless of evidence, hoping for a quick settlement. They, and people who use them are scum.
    Thanks, valid points.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    It could have been the tire sidewall giving way, from defect, a cut from road debris, or over inflation. It could have been striking an object the caused the lose of control followed by a tire blowout. The rim damage might be a consequence of the crash, not the cause. It might have been due to a bad build where one side lost tension causing the wheel to collapse.

    Regardless of cause, in the US you would have trouble getting a ruling of liability against anyone, given the possible causes pointing to many sources, including user error and hazards of the road. European law, dunno. I would guess the same.

    Unless you can find someone with some expertise to claim, on the record, that there was a manufacturing defect (possible if there was one) OR assembly defect (really hard to do given a messed up wheel), I don't think even consulting legal representation would be worth it.

    There are lawyers who will try to sue anyone, regardless of evidence, hoping for a quick settlement. They, and people who use them are scum.
    trying to claim a "manufacturing defect"... really depends. You DON'T have to always need expert proof, because no consumer is going to have access to manufactering experts. However, this doesn't mean they can't sue. Some years ago, my buddy bought an mtb (from big brand name). He was setting it up and so he was going up and and down some curbs as a setup process (to see how the suspension feels). Well lol and behold, the damn bike snap right at welding of headtube and downtube, he crashed, but bike was pretty much broken up. He went back to the shop and tried to get a replacement, but he was shocked to hear back from the shop that the manufacturer wouldn't warranty it because he misused the bike when he went up and down the curb. This was an mtb bike that was expected to take the same sort of abuse on the trail. My friend went on MTBR forum to ask for advice from the community, and just about everyone felt that he should have gotten replacement frame. There were (like always) a few corporate apologists who questioned my friend's story blah blah blah. Finally after 6 months of an impasse, he decided to take the bike shop and the manufacturer to small claim court. Then immediately the called him back and said manufacture will do a warranty. I think in small claim court, the judge is only looking for reasonable use factor. If something fails within reasonable use, then he's on your side.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aske View Post
    Is it practically impossible to make them recognize the flaw or do they have a process for clear cases like this? Thanks
    there's nothing 'clear' about this incident.

    if you think you're going to pursue a liability lawsuit against the rim mfg by yourself without legal counsel, you're going to be wasting a lot of time and effort.
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  13. #13
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    Sounds like a garden variety blowout? Anyway, reminds me of a story from when I was in high school. We have a very upscale country club nearby with a nice outdoor ice rink. I grew up a hockey player, so my friends and I would sneak out onto their ice when everything was closed up... On Christmas Day I wound up with a nasty compound spiral fracture of my tibia and fibula on the ice. Person after person after person kept telling my parents they should sue. And every time, my father would say, “the little **** was trespassing, I’m not suing anybody.”
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    Talk to a lawyer and see what they have to say. It is the only way you will know. Hope you heal quickly

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    Any chance there is some security camera footage in the area?

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    if you're absolutely convinced that you're using the bike as intended, meaning, you're not doing some crazy stunts, and it just broke, then you may have a legit case in court, especially in small claim court. In the US, there are small claim courts where the money involved is usually a few thousand dollars, and you don't need a counsel to make your case.

    Even if you did get a tire blowout, which then caused the rim to collapse, you still may have a case in small claim court. I'd argue that even if a tire did blowout, but if the speed was only around say 15mph (normal use for a bicycle), then the rim should be expected to not collapse. Getting flats (even catastrophic blowouts) are a part of using a bicycle, so rim manufacturers should make their rims to be able to handle a blowout at reasonable speed without total collapse.

    no manufacturer is gonna want to go to a small claim court. For them just retaining an attorney alone is $10,000 right off the bat, and that's just the start. They will rather settle.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Sorry to hear about your crash. Hope you're not too injured.

    In the U.S., (and I'm sure Europe), there's only one route. GET A LAWYER.
    ^^^This.^^^

    Quote Originally Posted by 202cycle View Post
    Prior to welded seams, rims were just pinned together.
    Some DT rims are pinned or sleeved, not welded.

    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Almost sounds to me like the tire flatted
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    followed by the rim damage.


    A rim may potato chip in a collision, but collapse? If actually collapsed and it wasn't the joint that failed, I'm thinking not enough tension on spokes.


    Last edited by Lombard; 04-20-2019 at 10:41 AM.
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