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Interview with Bicycle Accident Attorney and Advocate Charlie Finkel

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Los Angeles, CAOver the past several years, attorney Charlie Finkel of Magana, Cathcart & McCarthy has devoted considerable time and effort on protecting the legal rights of bicycle accident victims. Unfortunately, he says the number of accidents involving bikes vs. vehicles and bicycle product defect cases are on the rise.

"This past year we settled over $6 million in bike accident cases," says Finkel. "These kinds of lawsuits are increasingly becoming an avenue for tort litigation because bikes are more frequently being used as an economical means of transportation and exercise, and this mode of transport is increasingly popular due to Lance Armstrong and others; at the same time bicycles are an easy target for motorists; consequently we see many bike accidents involving cars and trucks."

There are two types of litigation regarding bicycle accidents: Finkel represents cyclists against motorists and secondly, against manufacturers and retailers when a bicycle is defective.

He says there are a lot of accidents, and subsequent lawsuits, involving defective bikes. Hundreds of thousands of cheap bikes are made in China and sold in big box stores such as Wal-Mart and Target. One of his cases recently settled against manufacturer Pacific Cycle, Inc., and the giant retailer Target Corporation. "The arbitration award is binding in this case," says Finkel.

In this particular case, plaintiff Peter Munson's bike chain jammed, the pedals locked and he lost his balance. Munson was thrown from the bicycle and broke his hip. "The significant thing about this case is that two years ago, I got a judgment against Pacific Cycle for the same defect and they did nothing to fix it," says Finkel. "Now another accident has occurred but this person was hurt more seriously; I am hopeful that now they will finally fix this defect—it is a simple thing to do."

In this case, Munson testified that he read the manual prior to riding the bike, but nowhere in the manual was there a warning concerning the dangers of chain jamming and pedal locking. Pacific Cycle was aware of this defect because there had been a previous lawsuit under similar circumstances. The court ruled against the manufacturer and Peter Munson has received a binding award of over $900,000!

Magana, Cathcart & McCarthy also has cases involving carbon fiber fork failures that cause catastrophic injuries (one involves a broken neck). "It is my hope that by pursuing these cases and winning, the manufacturers will take more measures to make certain their products are made safely," Finkel adds. With more bicycle accident victims coming forward, changes in bicycle design to ensure safety can be made. If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident or purchased a defective product, you should seek legal help.


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Posted by

In 2005 while riding Mr brand new bicycle that I purched less than 12 hours prior to the accident. I sustained an injury to my right foot which was badly broken and It's permantly disfigured requiring numerous surgery. The attorney that I hired withdrew in 2011, since then I've filed as ProSe. I'm not expecting a lawyer that el take my case because of it's complexities however l would appreciate some help in regards to my case.
Thank You,
Kim Todd


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