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Proving the integrity of a bicycle helmet in the face of a $20 million product liability lawsuit

Our Client's Challenge

A husband and wife from Florida were visiting Jackson’s Gap, Alabama, when a bicycle ride turned tragic. They were riding down a hill when a dog darted out in front of them. The 60-year-old woman went over her handlebars and suffered a traumatic brain injury, which left her with ongoing impairments. The woman was wearing a bicycle helmet manufactured by Bell Sports, and the couple asked for $20 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The California-based sports equipment manufacturer was counting on the Lightfoot team to defend the design and safety of its product.

Our Approach

Our attorneys compiled a comprehensive case complete with expert testimony, safety test data and evidence from the accident scene.

The plaintiff claimed the helmet should have had more protective foam on the portion covering the back-right side of the woman’s head where she struck the road. However, at trial, the Lightfoot team was able to show that the woman’s head and helmet both impacted the ground simultaneously, meaning the helmet was likely not secured properly and moved when she went over the handlebars, exposing part of her head.

We also presented evidence that the Bell Sports helmet was tested for impacts on and below the regulated test line, and that the woman’s injury occurred below that test line.

The Result

After a two-week trial and deliberating for four hours, the jury sided with Bell Sports on all claims.

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