Product Liability Lawyer reviewing equipment defect cases and lawsuits for injured clients and plaintiffs nationwide
Nationwide Success

Sports Equipment Defects

investigating sports injury & defective sporting goods

Every year, more than 2.6 million children are treated in emergency departments for sports and recreation-related injuries In the last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that sports-related injuries were responsible for nearly 250,000 children being treated in emergency departments for injuries that included a traumatic brain injury or concussion. Defective sports equipment may play a part in many injuries. 

Collision or contact sports have the highest injury rates. Sports including football, basketball, baseball and soccer account for about 80 percent of all sports-related emergency room visits.

Many sports are played using sports equipment like helmets and masks to serve as a safety element. Properly constructed gear is important for all athletes, and especially for those participating in sports like football, hockey, skiing, cycling, rollerblading, and snowboarding.

When sports equipment fails or is found to be defective, it may lead to preventable injuries that may be serious and even fatal. Sports equipment manufacturers are responsible for the products they deem safe, and any defect or failure that causes injury can result in a product liability claim and lawsuit.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Ohio Product Liability Lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of consumer product liability and defective sports equipment cases.

Defective & Recalled Sports Equipment

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regularly recalls sports equipment reported to contain safety defects that may pose a risk of injury. Certain pieces of sporting equipment are commonly found to be defective, including the following:

Home Gym Equipment Failure

Home gym equipment often requires some self-assembly. However, if some materials are missing or improperly manufactured or designed, the equipment may fail and serious injury may result.

Assembly instructions may be unclear, and gym equipment companies may fail to include adequate warnings about the limitations or proper weight restrictions. Common accidents involving home gym equipment may include:

  • Exercise bike collapse or tip over
  • Stair-stepper collapse
  • Resistance Tube failure
  • Exercise ball blow-outs
  • Pulley failures
  • Seat collapse
  • Failing weight locks


Defective Paintball Guns

Paintball is usually a fun, harmless sport, but can quickly turn dangerous when defective paintball guns are involved. Paintball guns are often recalled because of improper discharge and other defects with the valve-and-cylinder combination of the guns. By some estimates, over 20,000 people are injured each year using air and paintball guns.

Safety measures and the quality of manufacturing may have improved in recent years though older guns and equipment may still pose a safety threat. Manufacturers of paintball equipment are aware of the potential injury hazards, and they are responsible for the damages that result.

Defective Sports Helmets

Over the years, personal injury lawsuits involving defective helmets have forced manufacturers to fine-tune manufacturing and quality control processes in order to reduce the number of related injuries. However, cyclists and other athletes continue to be at risk due to some defective helmets.

To prevent injuries, particularly in collision sports like football, lacrosse and hockey, participants rely on well-designed helmets, sturdy enough to protect the head from inevitable impact. When helmets fail, the injuries that may result put the brain and spine at risk. Head injuries that result from wearing a defective helmet or face mask can cause concussions or traumatic brain injuries.

Helmets designed for football, hockey, lacrosse or baseball must be well-constructed, tested, and strong enough to absorb serious impact. A helmet should fit a player’s head snugly at all times, and should include a chinstrap that reduces movement of the protective gear. All safety and protective equipment must conform to industry standards, and must be tested prior to distribution.

Sports Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries are acute head injuries that occur when trauma or an external force causes disruption to the brain. Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) involves a temporary disruption, whereas severe trauma can result in brain bruising, torn tissue, and bleeding that can cause permanent brain damage or even death.

Long-term effects of TBI can range from impaired thinking to emotional impairment or physical functioning. Sport injuries can lead to the most severe types of TBI, including:

  • Anoxic Brain Injury
  • Penetrating Injury
  • Subdural Hematoma
  • Locked In Syndrome
  • Concussions
  • Closed Head Injury
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury
  • Coup-ContreCoup Injury
  • Second Impact Syndrome
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome

Equipment Manufacturers Liable

Product liability law holds manufacturers responsible for their portion of liability regarding injuries related to poorly constructed or defective sports equipment. These manufacturers have a legal duty to ensure the safety of the equipment they market and distribute. In addition, they are required to properly warn consumers of any defect their product may contain and issue prompt safety recalls.

Compensation can be sought and may be awarded to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, as well as punitive damages against a manufacturer for negligence and a blatant disregard for the safety of consumers. For a full investigation and to build the strongest case possible, it is prudent to contact an attorney with considerable experience in product liability law.


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Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.

The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.


The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.

photo of attorney Joe Lyon reviewing sports equipment defects
A Voice for Those who have suffered 

Why are these cases important?

Many product liability cases have had a positive impact on public health and safety, and we have witnessed improved lives and future athletic injuries prevented as companies are forced to remove defective sports products and change designs and warnings as a result of litigation.


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Questions about Sports Equipment Defect Cases

What are some recent sporting good recalls?

Recent sports equipment recalls have included the following:

  • Tree stands
  • Bicycles
  • Scooters
  • Safety Ropes
  • ATVs
  • Electric Bikes
  • Helmets
  • Snowmobiles
  • Bicycle Components
Can I file a Sports Equipment Defect Lawsuit?

Product liability lawsuits often contain causes of action for strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. Strict liability applies to different factors than negligence-based claims.

In negligence cases, the actions of the defendant are the focus. In strict liability claims, the focus is on the condition of a product at the time it left the manufacturer. If a sports product is determined to be defective, the company is liable for any foreseeable injuries that are in-part caused by the defective condition of the product.

How are sporting goods Defined as Defective?

A sporting goods product is defective if it is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. A legal cause of action can be based on several types of product defects. The following are Cincinnati product liability and strict liability claims available in Ohio and in most jurisdictions nationwide:

(1)  Manufacturing/ Construction Defect:

These issues arise where the product is released from the factory in a manner that deviates from the intended design or specifications. The defect can be a result of using the wrong materials, including the wrong or completely foreign materials.

As a result of the deviation, the product enters the market in an unreasonably dangerous condition and the consumer is exposed to or purchases a product that is defective. Any personal injuries or economic loss that arise from the the defect are compensable under product liability law.

(2) Defective design and/or formulation:

Defective design product liability cases arise not because a mistake was made during the manufacturing process, but rather the original design of the product is unreasonably dangerous. A “risk benefit analysis” is used to determine whether safer/less expensive alternative designs were available to the manufacturer.

Federal regulations set minimum standards for the design of many consumer products, and preemption defenses may preclude liability in some situations if the manufacturer follows and obtains federal approval for a product. 

(3) Failure to warn or inadequate warning or instruction associated with the product:

All consumer products come with necessary and appropriate warnings and instructions for use. If the lack of a warning makes the product and use of the product unsafe, the manufacturer is liable for the failure to place the warning. The most common area of litigation for failure to warn is in pharmaceutical litigation.

(4) Misrepresentation:

The product fails to conform to a representation or warranty. Warranty claims are more common in commercial and economic loss cases than in personal injury cases. In many States, The Product Liability Act does not apply to cases with only economic loss, because the Commercial Code provides recourse for breach of warranty.

The warranty may be written or implied based upon the products intended purpose and merchantability. 

Who regulates sports equipment safety?

Design and manufacturing defects result in thousands of product recalls each year in the United States, initiated by federal safety agencies. Following injury and illness, regardless of recall status, victims and plaintiffs may pursue legal action and contact a product liability lawyer to begin the litigation process. Rightful compensation can be sought and help plaintiffs recover medical costs and other related damages.

Product liability law overlaps with regulatory law, which are the systems of legislative rules and administrative agencies, and part of federal and state governments.

Should I hire The Lyon Firm?

The Lyon Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional sports injury cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered. 

Experience:  Joe Lyon is an experienced Product Liability Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters.  Product Liability lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury.  Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.

Discovering a Product Defect: Initial Steps


  1. Secure the product;
  2. Obtain a complete history from the client and any witnesses on the purchase, use and incident with the product
  3. Obtain all incident or accident reports and photographs;
  4. Obtain medical records of admission, EMS and first four days of hospital admission;
  5. Obtain any government agency via FOIA requests;
  6. Research any other similar incidents including lawsuits;
  7. Research any active recalls;
  8. Research any nuanced areas of law that the facts reveal;
  9. Consult with appropriate experts;
  10. Determine whether case merits filing a lawsuit
  11. Perform any product inspection or testing with appropriate protocols in place. 

Product Liability Settlements

The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to a defective product or recalled product to obtain just compensation under the law. 



(Pikeville, Kentucky): Confidential settlement for Plaintiff who suffered spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia due to defectively designed seat belt. Four passengers with three-point (lap/shoulder) belts walked away from the accident, and the only passenger wearing a two-point belt (lap only) suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury. The settlement assisted with home improvements to assist in daily living. GM entered federal bankruptcy during the process and no longer manufactures two-point lap belts for vehicles.



(Hillsboro, Ohio): Confidential Settlement for the family of elderly man who was catastrophically burned while operating a propane wall heater. The burns resulted in his unfortunate death. The heater, manufactured and sourced from China, was alleged to allow the flame to reach outside the grid area in violation of ANSI standards. The Defendant resolved the case following discovery and mediation. The recovered funds were paid to the victim’s surviving spouse and children. The company no longer manufactures this type of heater.