Adult Tricycle with Design and Assembly Defects Results in Personal Injury Lawsuit
A products liability lawsuit filed in Taney County, Missouri, and moved to a federal district court in that state in December 2020 pits an injured woman against Walmart Inc. and the manufacturer of an adult tricycle whose design, manufacture, and assembly defects allegedly caused her serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The plaintiff indicates in her complaint that she still suffers serious problems from her head injury and that she has sustained tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, as well as lost income from the injuries caused by the defective product.
Who are the Defendants?
Everyone is familiar with Walmart, the world’s biggest company by revenues and biggest employer, with more than two million employees and more than 11,500 stores worldwide. Its annual sales for 2019 amounted to more than half a trillion dollars. Although the company’s stock is publicly traded, the corporation is effectively controlled by the Walton family – heirs of founder Sam Walton – who control more than 50 percent of the stock. Walmart is well-known for fighting “tooth and nail” against personal injury claims.
Although the defective adult tricycle’s manufacturer is far less well-known than Walmart, Kent International has actually been in business much longer, having been founded more than a century ago in New York City and later moving to New Jersey. It is a private corporation and manufactures a variety of bicycles and related products, including the “Razor” scooters popular among children.
What was the Problem?
According to the personal injury claimant in Missouri, she had purchased the adult tricycle in late 2015 from a local Walmart store. The tricycle came only partially assembled from the manufacturer, and it was apparently a regular practice of Walmart to provide final assembly as a service for their customers.
The very first time the woman tried using the tricycle, she found herself headed downhill with the brakes not working. Trying to maneuver to avoid running into an intersection ahead, she ended up crashing the bicycle, pitching forward head-first onto the pavement. In addition to suffering a traumatic brain injury, she also sustained a broken tooth, a broken nose, and superficial scrapes and bruises. Her most serious long-term problems were from the head injury and included serious headaches and serious cognitive problems that made it difficult for her to continue earning a living.
Why was Each Defendant Sued?
Product defects lawsuits often can involve several different defendants, including the original manufacturer of the product, suppliers who made parts that went into the product, distributors and retailers involved in selling the product to the public, servicers who provide maintenance for the product, and others — virtually anyone who touched the product along the way. The specific defendants who may be named in a particular products liability case such as this defective adult tricycle from Walmart, however, will depend on the laws in the state (or federal court) where the lawsuit is filed.
One of the most important services that an experienced personal injury attorney can provide for the victim of a defective product is an identification and evaluation of the possible defendants so as to choose those against whom liability is most likely to be provable, as well as those who have the amounts of liability insurance coverage and/or assets most likely adequate to satisfy a settlement or jury verdict stemming from a serious injury or death.
In this Missouri case, Walmart was likely named as a defendant for two reasons – first, it was the retailer who actually sold the product to the injury victim, and second, it provided the final assembly of the product that was received in pieces from the manufacturer. The plaintiff’s attorney discovered that Walmart employees were put under pressure to complete the bicycle assembly work quickly.
Additionally, it appears that engineering experts who were hired for the case by the plaintiff’s attorney examined the bicycle’s brakes and discovered that they did not meet government requirements for such devices. This established an inherent defect for which the manufacturer, Kent International, was liable, and for which that company was named as a defendant. When there is an inherent defect in a product and that defect leads directly to an injury, it can establish what is known as “strict liability” — a form of liability that is much more difficult for defendants to argue against, because it does not require proof that they were actually negligent, only that their defective product caused an injury.
Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
Hello – I’m Ed Smith, an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sacramento, California. Defective products likely a defective bicycle can cause serious, permanent, debilitating injuries or even a fatality. If you or a family member has been injured by a defective product and are looking for free and friendly advice, please give us a call at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 to speak with an injury lawyer. Or you can also contact us by using our online form.
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