Who is Responsible for Malfunctioning Vehicles?
Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than other types of vehicles as their riders don’t have the protection afforded by larger vehicles like cars and SUVs. Nevertheless, those who buy motorcycles expect their bikes to be safe and free from defective parts. When a motorcycle malfunctions, it can not only cause an accident but may also result in serious or death for the rider.
Hagelgans & Veronis, LLP, provides focused representation for victims injured in motorcycle accidents caused by defects throughout Pennsylvania. Our legal team has the needed expertise to help you understand your rights and work to get the largest compensation possible for the death of a loved one or injuries you may have suffered. If you have sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact us at (717) 295-7009 for your free consultation.
Motorcycle Mishaps Frequently Result in Catastrophic Injuries and Death
Multi-million dollar settlements often result from motorcycle accidents where product liability is involved. Even the most experienced motorcyclist can have extreme difficulty controlling the vehicle when it suddenly fails. These cases require expert industry witnesses to testify in court that the motorcycle involved had a severe design problem or defect directly responsible for the accident. The following are some of the most common deficiencies found in motorcycles.
Top Defective Motorcycle Parts
Although virtually any section of a motorcycle may malfunction, some parts are more likely than others to suddenly fail, causing catastrophic accidents and injuries.
The most common defective motorcycle parts are:
- Brakes. Faulty brakes can make it impossible to stop, and without a cabin to protect the rider often cause more serious injuries.
- Tires. Tread separating from the tires or a blowout can make the cyclist lose control.They can also make the bike unstable.
- Fuel tank and system. A malfunctioning system can cause an explosion, leaving victims with burns and serious head trauma if tossed from the vehicle. Leaking tanks are the most common cause of motorcycle fires.
- Frame. Defective art in the frame can result in cracks and structural failures. Cracks can lead to rust and potentially affect other parts of the vehicle.
- Handlebars. When weak or defective, this can cause steering problems, causing your bike to wobble.
Additional parts that can fail include the engine, chain, shock absorbers, accelerator pedals, and toe clips.
Equipment Manufacturer Liability
Manufacturers are responsible for allowing consumers to buy defective products. However, in product liability cases, the manufacturer along with other parties in the product distribution chain may be liable for injuries caused by a defect. Plaintiffs can sue the part manufacturer, the company that assembled the product, the wholesaler, the store that sold the product and the person or company that installed it.
Defects can fall into three categories:
- Design. Where defects are present in the product before manufacture, with plaintiffs arguing that a safer alternative design would have prevented injuries.
- Manufacturing. The manufacture or assembly of a product was unsafe due to inferior materials or manufacturing methods.
- Marketing. These claims usually involve inadequate warnings or improper instructions.
In most motorcycle injury cases, plaintiffs must prove that the motorcycle was defective, that the defect caused the injury, and the rider was using the vehicle as intended. Manufacturers usually counter that the design or defect didn’t cause the injury and that the motorcyclists were negligent.
Motorcycle Helmets and Gear Can Also Be Defective
Along with parts on the motorcycles themselves, necessary equipment like helmets can harbor defects and can cause injury to motorcycle riders when they are thrown from the bike. Helmets must meet design and safety specifications established by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and should have a DOT sticker. Knock-off helmets may not provide proper protection in a crash.
What Injuries Can Motorcycle Crashes from Defective Parts Cause?
Anyone suffering injuries due to a defective motorcycle, get medical attention as soon as possible to minimize any problems.
Motorcyclists can suffer any of these problems:
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Motorcycle Manufacturers Have a Duty to Keep You Safe
Manufacturers are responsible for notifying owners about recalling defective vehicles and parts and paying for the repair. Virtually every motorcycle manufacturer has had to recall bike models and parts at one time or another. If they don’t do so, they could be guilty of a dereliction of their duty to keep you as safe as possible.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident where parts of a motorcycle failed, contact our office at (717) 295-7009 to schedule a complimentary consultation to speak with one of our experienced injury attorneys. We will evaluate your case and determine who may be responsible for the mechanical failure of your bike. Let us determine how much your claim may be worth.