He describes the background as follows: "A boy 12 years old at the moment of the accident had claimed damages as well as compensation for pain and suffering after having sustained severe injuries following a fall with his mountain bike. The frame of his mountain bike had broken during the landing of the front wheel after a ‘wheelie’, i.e. riding on the rear wheel only.
The decision of the Nuremberg Higher Regional Court (judgement of May 20, 2014, file no.: 4 U 206/14) can be subsumed under one sentence: In the event, the user of a mountain bike falls due to frame breakage, the manufacturer of the mountain bike is liable (pursuant to section 1 (1), section 3 (1) lit.b of the German Product Liability Law) for the material and immaterial damage resulting thereof, if they have failed to point out in the user manual that the bicycle is not suitable for being used for tricks and riding manoeuvres usually possible for a mountain bike.
The judgement of the Higher Regional Court is based on a judgement of the Federal Court of Justice of Germany (BGH) according to which a manufacturer, as a fundamental matter, is liable for any damage incurred as a result of a defective product. A product is defective, even if the consumer has not been provided with clear information about how to use the product (BGH, judgement of February 05, 2013, file no. VI ZR 1/12)."
"In future, it is absolutely necessary to inform customers as detailed as if they had no own experience and could not judge on their own", says Zedler. With his more than 20 years of experience in court he would have not expected such a far-reaching judgement in Germany. In his opinion the consequences for the manufacturers are of major importance. In the mentioned case, it would be necessary to describe bicycle use and limitations of use to the tiniest details to prevent the formation of the smallest information gap. This causes considerable duties for the producers - from promotion to delivery.
Author: Jo Beckendorff
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