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High Court, Queen's Bench Division
Sir Colin Mackay
8 April 2014
The court had to consider whether the claimant’s injuries accident had been caused by his an allegedly defective bicycle which he had previously bought from the defendant.
The claimant purchased a mountain bike from the defendant. Nine months later, whilst cycling on a tarmac cycle path, the claimant lost control of his bicycle and sustained a serious head injury including the loss of an eye.
The claimant argued that his accident had been caused by the fracture of the bike’s steerer tube and that the defect had been present from the time the bicycle was supplied.
The defendant contended that the steerer tube had either been damaged during a previous high impact accident and the tube had been bent and incompetently re- straightened or that it was damaged in the material accident. Both of these were denied by Tthe claimant. denied this allegation.
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Taking all the scientific expert evidence into account, on the balance of probabilities, the court found that the steerer tube had to have been damaged in an earlier accident and the damage caused by the earlier accident had been exacerbated by amateur repair and incompetent straightening.
The claimant failed to establish a defect at the time of purchase.
Product liability and in particular, proving a manufacturing defect months after purchase of a product can be notoriously difficult for claimants as demonstrated in this case. As a result judgment was awarded in favour of the defendant.