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  1. #1
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    New Guy Breaks and Separates Shoulder... Is It My Fault?

    Have a small group that meets once or twice a week here at our local trails..we'll call the trails La Quinta Cove Trails.. one of the riders, my brother n law, invites his cousin to join us, he seemed interested in mountain biking and wanted to give it a shot after saving up for a hardtail. He has maybe 30 rides in, before this last one and improving FAST. This last ride would've been his feather in his cap ride...Only He BEEFED IT UGLY near the end of the ride, a single track downhill he had already done 5 times before. It was a night ride to boot. My brother in law and I were in the lead and cold hear what seemed like he was just calling us for a mechanical on his bike, when we got back to him his bike was twisted and he was on the floor seated yelling in pain grabbing his left shoulder. Arms bleeding covered in dirt head to toe. Long story short..he ended up in the hospital, they cant pop his shoulder back in because of damage to his rotator cuff and a small fracture on his arm. And as luck would have it he has suck ass insurance and his job doesn't have sick leave.. he's a construction worker. What responsibilities if any, am I responsible for this guy financially? Me personally, I take care of my bike and body and count on nobody for when shit happens, part of the game. Just have this funny feeling that he might start pointing fingers. Hope it's just my worst fears that are playing with my head though. I feel bad for the guy, hope he heals quick and returns to shredding soon.

    UPDATE: 10-16-18 I'd like to thank everyone here for the helpful and funny remarks, I lost a couple of nights of sleep and after reading these comments help put my anxieties at ease...what really helped me though was I finally just asked him if we were still cool, he replied that we were and that he couldn't wait to get back on the bike. Made my day. It was easier to just ask him than to start a thread about it really...lol. SMH I don't get myself sometimes..
    Last edited by JKDjEdi; 4 Weeks Ago at 04:58 PM. Reason: UPDATE!

  2. #2
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    Not your fault at all, he's an adult that makes his own decisions. It wasn't like you lead a total beginner onto a trail he hadn't been on before, not that that would really matter anyway.
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  3. #3
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    Wut?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Not your fault at all, he's an adult that makes his own decisions. It wasn't like you lead a total beginner onto a trail he hadn't been on before, not that that would really matter anyway.
    Thank You.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Not your fault at all, he's an adult that makes his own decisions. It wasn't like you lead a total beginner onto a trail he hadn't been on before, not that that would really matter anyway.
    This, I donít have the energy to go any deeper. Well, actually itís ridiculous that you would even think itís your fault. Who gives a crap what road he takes it. He has no ground to stand on, so to speak.
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    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKDjEdi View Post
    Have a small group that meets once or twice a week here at our local trails..we'll call the trails La Quinta Cove Trails.. one of the riders, my brother n law, invites his cousin to join us, he seemed interested in mountain biking and wanted to give it a shot after saving up for a hardtail. He was maybe 30 rides in this last ride and improving FAST. This last ride would've been his feather in his cap ride...Only He BEEFED IT UGLY near the end of the ride, a single track downhill he had already done 5 times before. It was a night ride to boot. My brother in law and I were in the lead and cold hear what seemed like he was just calling us for a mechanical on his bike, when we got back to him his bike was twisted and he was on the floor seated yelling in pain grabbing his left shoulder. Arms bleeding covered in dirt head to toe. Long story short..he ended up in the hospital, they cant pop his shoulder back in because of damage to his rotator cuff and a small fracture on his arm. And as luck would have it he has suck ass insurance and his job doesn't have sick leave.. he's a construction worker. What responsibilities if any, am I responsible for this guy financially? Me personally, I take care of my bike and body and count on nobody for when shit happens, part of the game. Just have this funny feeling that he might start pointing fingers. Hope it's just my worst fears that are playing with my head though. I feel bad for the guy, hope he heals quick and returns to shredding soon.
    That's like feeling responsible for watching a car accident.

    If my friend had a car accident and i saw it happen, i'd feel intimately connected to the event, and try to be supportive, but not responsible.
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  7. #7
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    Its not your fault.

  8. #8
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    Are you getting ahead of yourself, or is he actually heading down the road of assigning blame?

    Unless he paid you for the ride and you guaranteed his safety despite knowingly putting him in danger, you have zero liability. Even paid guides have pretty limited liability.

    Mountain biking is inherently extremely dangerous and every court knows this. You assume the risk when you go ride.
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  9. #9
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    Yea, concur with the above. That said, sucks to be that guy.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Are you getting ahead of yourself, or is he actually heading down the road of assigning blame?

    Unless he paid you for the ride and you guaranteed his safety despite knowingly putting him in danger, you have zero liability. Even paid guides have pretty limited liability.

    Mountain biking is inherently extremely dangerous and every court knows this. You assume the risk when you go ride.
    Just like to get feed back, a census, from the community here. Just in case. He just seems like He's a guy that blames everybody but himself kinda attitude..so that's why I'm a little anxious about it. I'm hope im wrong. Poor guy, hope he can collect at least disability or something.

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  11. #11
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    Unless you stuck a branch in his wheel you're not responsible.
    I'm sure you feel bad, and it sucks, but he's not a total newb and has ridden that trail before. We all assess (to our own degree) any risk of injury during any sketchy drops, sections, and just riding in the woods in general.
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  12. #12
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    I can't see the OP being liable in any way, but there is certainly a chain of potential litigation here.

    From IMBA (Canada):

    "If someone is hurt riding trails in your community, who can be found liable? Generally speaking, every organization involved in the trail's design, construction, and maintenance could potentially be named as a defendant in a lawsuit. This would include the landowner, the trail management agency, and even related non-profit groups... potentially everyone involved in the trail.

    The most common lawsuits faced by trail managers are related to negligence. They occur when an injured visitor claims that a trail manager failed to design, construct, manage or maintain the trail with reasonable and prudent care."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by phlegm View Post
    I can't see the OP being liable in any way, but there is certainly a chain of potential litigation here.

    From IMBA (Canada):

    "If someone is hurt riding trails in your community, who can be found liable? Generally speaking, every organization involved in the trail's design, construction, and maintenance could potentially be named as a defendant in a lawsuit. This would include the landowner, the trail management agency, and even related non-profit groups... potentially everyone involved in the trail.

    The most common lawsuits faced by trail managers are related to negligence. They occur when an injured visitor claims that a trail manager failed to design, construct, manage or maintain the trail with reasonable and prudent care."
    Hmmm.... I don't think this is accurate considering I've recently ridden public land trails in Canada that have near vertical 100' rock rollers, huge gap jumps, elevated wood stunts, etc. LOL

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Not your fault at all, he's an adult that makes his own decisions. It wasn't like you lead a total beginner onto a trail he hadn't been on before, not that that would really matter anyway.

    Exactly this.

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    You committed the heinous act of taking this guy riding and exposing him to manifold dangers. Now you are completely responsible for his well-being.

    You should pay for all of his medical bills, his missed income, a new bike, and a lifetime supply of beer to mitigate his pain and suffering. You should also supply him with a comfort animal such as a badger to help him with his stress.

    These are the things that all victims should be entitled to in the USA.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    You committed the heinous act of taking this guy riding and exposing him to manifold dangers. Now you are completely responsible for his well-being.

    You should pay for all of his medical bills, his missed income, a new bike, and a lifetime supply of beer to mitigate his pain and suffering. You should also supply him with a comfort animal such as a badger to help him with his stress.

    These are the things that all victims should be entitled to in the USA.
    LMFAO...luv it.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    You committed the heinous act of taking this guy riding and exposing him to manifold dangers. Now you are completely responsible for his well-being.

    You should pay for all of his medical bills, his missed income, a new bike, and a lifetime supply of beer to mitigate his pain and suffering. You should also supply him with a comfort animal such as a badger to help him with his stress.

    These are the things that all victims should be entitled to in the USA.
    You kid, but I know a couple situations where a rider's insurance company forced them to sue anyone they could find in an attempt to recover costs. One where the rider actually died (and the surviving family filed the suit), and the other where the rider was just injured. I don't know all the details, but the lawsuits named specific people who built the trail, as well as land managers, the club involved, etc.

    This situation is not sounding like a great one, and I could still see a lawsuit being filed against OP. Insurance companies are slimy bastards and they WANT to assign blame so they can get their money back. Seems to be fairly common when bicycles are involved.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    You kid, but I know a couple situations where a rider's insurance company forced them to sue anyone they could find in an attempt to recover costs. One where the rider actually died (and the surviving family filed the suit), and the other where the rider was just injured. I don't know all the details, but the lawsuits named specific people who built the trail, as well as land managers, the club involved, etc.

    This situation is not sounding like a great one, and I could still see a lawsuit being filed against OP. Insurance companies are slimy bastards and they WANT to assign blame so they can get their money back. Seems to be fairly common when bicycles are involved.
    I wonder at what point you would be responsible vs. where you could say, we were on the trail together but he was riding by himself. I regularly ride with people but they drop off the back, once they are there, if we have as no drop policy then I consider them part of the group. If it is just a casual ride, I figure they are big kids and can either close the gap or do their own thing. Such a fine edge of insurance douchery whenever they are involved.

    I hope the OP just has no issues, guilt aside, and this guy accepts his own culpability in his accident. The OP didn't cause him to crash, just provided him the means to get out of the house. I mean this is like being responsible for a car crash because someone was meeting you at the bar and crashed on the way. They wouldn't have crashed if you didn't set up the meeting. I don't feel this is any different.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    I hope the OP just has no issues, guilt aside, and this guy accepts his own culpability in his accident. The OP didn't cause him to crash, just provided him the means to get out of the house. I mean this is like being responsible for a car crash because someone was meeting you at the bar and crashed on the way. They wouldn't have crashed if you didn't set up the meeting. I don't feel this is any different.
    I agree with this, but from what I've seen, insurance companies really really hate this sort of thing and they will occasionally stretch to find someone to recover money from. I have friends whose health insurance companies pushed hard them hard to blame someone else for their injury, but they were reasonable and saw through this ploy, accepting all blame 100% for their crash. If the injured party refuses to accept responsibility and feeds the insurance company's desire to get their money back, I can see problems...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I agree with this, but from what I've seen, insurance companies really really hate this sort of thing and they will occasionally stretch to find someone to recover money from. I have friends whose health insurance companies pushed hard them hard to blame someone else for their injury, but they were reasonable and saw through this ploy, accepting all blame 100% for their crash. If the injured party refuses to accept responsibility and feeds the insurance company's desire to get their money back, I can see problems...
    I gotta say as someone that was recently doored by a car opening a door from the driving lane into the bike lane and collecting me my tolerance for insurance companies is pretty low. They won't pay any medical bills until I sign off but my finger was mangled and I have had a bunch of Dr appt's and potentially may still need surgery if it doesn't work right and all that time I carry the medical bills. Once I finally sign off they will pay out. That is a lot of exposure I carry until they will pay. They said what most people do is make a claim on their home or auto insurance to pay the amount and the reimburse their insurance when they get paid back. WTF is that about? Wouldn't it be easier to just pay my bills once then be done, vs. adding in another insurance company and people and transfers?

    Again, not to make this about me, I hope the OP and the broken rider is good and they can ride together and shit is sorted so that they don't have to worry about stuff. Still if you have someone that always plays the victim, don't do stuff with them. Anything. That way they can only hold the fact that you don't do anything with them against you.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    You should also supply him with a comfort animal such as a badger to help him with his stress.
    BADGERS????? We don't need no stinkin' BADGERS!!!

    Wolverines are way more cuddly.
    No dig no whine

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    They said what most people do is make a claim on their home or auto insurance to pay the amount and the reimburse their insurance when they get paid back. WTF is that about? Wouldn't it be easier to just pay my bills once then be done, vs. adding in another insurance company and people and transfers?
    The only way I would see that being a benefit would be if your own insurance company went to bat for you to first cover your bills/losses, then they went after the insurance company of the person that was at fault to recoup the costs.

    I'm not sure it really works that way. The only experience I have close to that was an auto accident where the other driver was 100% at fault, and my insurance company didn't do squat for me, and just said to pursue it with the other insurance company on my own.

    With the way some insurance companies are today, I'd be more worried that my own insurance company would jack my rates or drop me for making the claim through them.
    No dig no whine

  23. #23
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    At the start of spring, one of my friends (new to biking) crashed his mountain bike into a switchback because he had this thought that he was pro level after 30 minutes of instruction from the rest of us. This crash was a few months ago. He had quite an ego. He also wanted to sell his Trek X-Cal to buy a Trek Full Stache because it's easier to clear obstacles. He has been riding for only 3-4 months at this point.

    I found out from someone else that he crashed his bike again and actually broke his collarbone. He is active duty Army and yeah...his supervisors were probably not happy with him.
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  24. #24
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    You might want to be proactive and just off the guy. Make sure you ditch the body.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by phlegm View Post
    I can't see the OP being liable in any way, but there is certainly a chain of potential litigation here.

    From IMBA (Canada):

    "If someone is hurt riding trails in your community, who can be found liable? Generally speaking, every organization involved in the trail's design, construction, and maintenance could potentially be named as a defendant in a lawsuit. This would include the landowner, the trail management agency, and even related non-profit groups... potentially everyone involved in the trail.

    The most common lawsuits faced by trail managers are related to negligence. They occur when an injured visitor claims that a trail manager failed to design, construct, manage or maintain the trail with reasonable and prudent care."
    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    Hmmm.... I don't think this is accurate considering I've recently ridden public land trails in Canada that have near vertical 100' rock rollers, huge gap jumps, elevated wood stunts, etc. LOL
    Not sure I understand your point. The difficulty of the obstacle doesn't change the concept nor liability.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    Its not your fault.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    BADGERS????? We don't need no stinkin' BADGERS!!!

    Wolverines are way more cuddly.
    Wombats are cuddly and muscular.

  28. #28
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    Locally an event organiser was successfully sued when a woman broke her neck riding the course. I have no idea of the OP's liability but if you "hosted" the ride wouldn't put it past a lawsuit in the good ole US and A. This is why I make it a habit of steering far clear of assholes. I can't guarantee my own safety much less anybody else's. Infact I'm encorrigibly dangerous. I'd put Curveball on retainer now though, wouldn't risk your brother in laws cousin having access to that kind of firepower.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKDjEdi View Post
    they cant pop his shoulder back in because of damage to his rotator cuff and a small fracture on his arm.
    So does he have a dislocated shoulder or separated shoulder? You don't pop a separated shoulder back in.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abox View Post
    So does he have a dislocated shoulder or separated shoulder? You don't pop a separated shoulder back in.
    Not sure, in the waiting room doctor comes out...pauses, says Ummm...and we just freaked out after that..lol.. He says..."in the 20 years working I've never seen anything like this" he said it looked like he had some prior damage, that they had tried two diffrent times to pop his shoulder back in but that at the touch it would just pop back out again. MRI Scheduled too see if surgery is needed..my guess is..yeaaah..hello...earth to doctor...it won't stay put.. O.o.. Anyways, he's home licking his wounds, word is hes up and about on foot already.


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  31. #31
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    more important question, why do you hang out with people like that... "blames everybody"

    lifes too short for toxic people. you get what you tolerate

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by nauc View Post
    more important question, why do you hang out with people like that... "blames everybody"

    lifes too short for toxic people. you get what you tolerate
    I here ya...makes a lot of sense..i can't decide who shows up to rides though..and hes family unfortunately..lol.. Wife's cousin. Just felt really bad about it..been in that situation myself with a torn ligament on my knee..and its not fun just sitting there waiting ....to get better to shred trails again. Hell yeah.,,shred for life folks. Shred on..out.

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  33. #33
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    "beefed it ugly"... that's going right under "shred the gnar" on the list of stupid sayings I hope I never hear again.

  34. #34
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    I always mentioned that each rider is responsible for their own safety at any ride I've ever hosted, many on my own private property trails. I figured that it isn't really a matter of if people are jerks or not, just that folks have to keep going and taking on what could easily be tens of thousands in medical debt from a crash is really tough to face. If a friend was forced to sue me (my insurance) because it was the only way to provide for his family, I'd accept that.


    I don't think the OP has any liability on this. The rider might have crap insurance, but he's not totally un-covered. Just need to get everything paid that he can, then negotiate with the hospital for the rest of it. Sounds like lost wages might be his bigger problem, but it's his problem.
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  35. #35
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    All this talk is another good reason to ride alone.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    All this talk is another good reason to ride alone.
    Welp, then if you crashed hard while solo you'd be SOL. That's why ya ride with friends, albeit ones who won't sue you for their own stupidity ofc.

  37. #37
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    If you like the guy at all (maybe you don't) you could do something like some fundraiser dinners or rides to try to help offset his medical costs or time off work.

    That's the first thing that came to my mind when I read the post. That's what I'd do if I liked him or even if you really only like bro-in-law who brought him. Maybe you don't like either one of them and could give two shits.

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    Not your fault. Not your responsibility.


    I brought my bike to my mom's house last year for Thanksgiving with my family. My nephew (22 years old) and his dad decided to ride it around. Then they fashioned a homemade "ramp" out of a piece of plywood and some firewood. They then start challenging each other (this is pretty typical behavior for my brother and his son) to ramp the bike. Of course, they're also drinking beer and possibly other intoxicants.

    Long story short, my nephew endos and breaks his arm while being cheered on by his father. He has no insurance and works manual labor. Part of me felt guilty and responsible. The other part thought, "dumbass."

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    I had something similar happen to me many years ago. The national association of bike police was looking for venues to have a convention. My city was one of the options. For some reason I ended-up being the guy who took a group of police officers on a mountain bike ride (for them to decide if my city would win the convention).

    I should have known I was in trouble when a lady showed-up with a mirror affixed to her helmet. Anyway, I took them on a pretty easy ride, during which the lady wrecked and scratched up her very nice legs. She was ok though. I decided to stay back with her while the other officers took off down a fire-road. Within five minutes we came across them and one had wrecked and broken his collar bone pretty bad. I seriously doublt he could work for a while. I always felt a little guilty and wondered whether he was covered by workers compensation.

    Fast forward a couple of years, when my wife took took a girl on a ride who broke her leg and was unable to compete for an Olympic spot on the rowing team.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogfly View Post
    Not your fault. Not your responsibility.


    I brought my bike to my mom's house last year for Thanksgiving with my family. My nephew (22 years old) and his dad decided to ride it around. Then they fashioned a homemade "ramp" out of a piece of plywood and some firewood. They then start challenging each other (this is pretty typical behavior for my brother and his son) to ramp the bike. Of course, they're also drinking beer and possibly other intoxicants.

    Long story short, my nephew endos and breaks his arm while being cheered on by his father. He has no insurance and works manual labor. Part of me felt guilty and responsible. The other part thought, "dumbass."
    Surely you caught that on video.
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  41. #41
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    If he posed the question of suing me I would probably laugh and give him a nice back slap...right on the shoulder. j/k

    If he was not on your property or on your bike I would not worry about it.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesmokingman View Post
    Welp, then if you crashed hard while solo you'd be SOL. That's why ya ride with friends, albeit ones who won't sue you for their own stupidity ofc.
    That's very Machiavellian.

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    OP you'll be fine.. Don't let it get to your head like that. I'm sure you know it wasn't your fault and I'm guessing you won't be getting any blame. I actually kind of understand where you're coming from..In a weird way, riding with newer riders can give you somewhat of an unbalanced sense of responsibility. But yeah, you did nothing wrong. Hope he heals up ok.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Aswell View Post
    If you like the guy at all (maybe you don't) you could do something like some fundraiser dinners or rides to try to help offset his medical costs or time off work.

    That's the first thing that came to my mind when I read the post. That's what I'd do if I liked him or even if you really only like bro-in-law who brought him. Maybe you don't like either one of them and could give two shits.
    LOl..great idea.. I like them both, we get along and we fight too, like most brothers do.. I updated the OP guys to add some good news and I'm saving up to buy him a better fork and new grips for his bike, when he's ready to get back on it it will be ready for him. Thank You all!! Love this community.

  45. #45
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    Haha yeah, should've just asked him. But anyway, that's awesome of you to buy him a couple upgrades. Good on you!

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    Just for the sake of clarity, when an insurance company pays money on a claim, including a health insurance/injury claim, they "step into the shoes" of the insured. They have sole discretion to file lawsuits against responsible parties to recover their payouts. It's called subrogation.

    They go through the motions of investigating other sources of liability anytime someone is involved in an accident that might involve the fault of others. The insured can discourage that by admitting sole fault, but ultimately it isn't the insured's decision.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    BADGERS????? We don't need no stinkin' BADGERS!!!

    Wolverines are way more cuddly.
    Too funny, my first inclination was to go with a wolverine, but I changed my mind to a badger. They're just so adorable when they're hissing at you and baring their fangs. Very comforting animals if you ask me.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Get a good lawyer.
    Stick around if you're housebroken...

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