Product Liability for Motorcycles – Motorcycle Accident LawGeneral Posts
Product Liability for Motorcycles
It is a rare occurrence, but sometimes a motorcycle is sold that has an inherent flaw that is a result of either poor engineering or poor design. More often, motorcycles are negligently manufactured in such a manner that a critical part will fail under the stresses and loads that are a part of their intended use. Parts that fail, such as a brake proportioning valve, a chain that breaks, or an engine bearing that malfunctions, can lead to an accident that causes a devastating injury or even worse. If such a failure occurs and causes an injury or a death to a motorcycle rider or passenger, the victim or victims are allowed under Texas law to initiate a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the motorcycle. There are some instances where there are multiple parties that can be named as defendants in a product liability lawsuit. For instance, if a manufacturer produces a motorcycle and a part such as a brake caliper fails, the manufacturer, the retail operation that sold the bike, and the supplier of that individual part can all be held liable. This depends, of course, on the extent of the responsible parties’ negligence.
As with most litigation involving motorcycle accidents, product liability claims are extremely intricate and complex. You cannot simply base any portion of your case on mere speculation. In order for you to have any chance at all of winning your case, it is imperative that you collect and preserve quite a bit of evidence. It is not enough to simply say, for example, that “the throttle cable broke.” You, as the plaintiff in your case, bear the burden of proof, meaning you have to prove that the failure of the part occurred due to negligence on behalf of the manufacturer. It is critical to your case that the exact cause the failure is determined. In order for you to have any chance at winning your case, there must be a detailed evaluation performed by a qualified engineer. That evaluation will supplement a report filed by an expert that will pinpoint the exact nature of the part’s failure. Also, the motorcycle and any accessories that accompany it must also be stored in such a manner that they can be used as evidence during the trial.
A lot of claims involving product liability fail to succeed because the party initiating the claim did not properly catalog and preserve the evidence necessary to prove their case. Legal laypeople do not have a sufficient enough grasp of proper courtroom procedure, and this lack of knowledge can cause their case to be dismissed. As a matter of fact, product liability cases are beyond the capabilities of most lawyers. If it is that difficult for most lawyers to win this kind of litigation, it is almost impossible for someone with no legal background whatsoever to succeed. You simply must have a seasoned and skilled motorcycle accident attorney working for you in order to obtain the just compensation you have coming to you.
Mechanical failures as a result of either product defects or poor maintenance are often another source of motorcycle accidents. Typically, service or recall bulletins will recommend minor changes to passenger automobiles in order to address some sort of flaw. However, there is an old adage pertaining to motorcycles that goes, “when something goes wrong on a motorcycle, it goes very wrong.” A properly operating motorcycle is precarious enough, requiring a fairly significant effort on the part of the rider simply to remain upright. If a motorcycle suffers a mechanical failure, a rider can quickly lose control of the bike. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that a rider will simply be able to coast to safety under these kinds of conditions.
Issues Involving Motorcycle Maintenance and Misrepresentation of Condition
Professional maintenance shops sometimes perform shoddy maintenance work that can also lead to an accident that causes a severe injury. As we stated previously, when a car suffers some sort of malfunction, the driver can often guide the car off the road and to a shop for service without an accident occurring. But when a motorcycle experiences a mechanical failure due to improper maintenance, the accident that can result can lead to devastating injury or death for the rider. There are some motorcycle repair shops that do a slip-shod job of hiring qualified mechanics. A negligent mechanic could easily overlook something that can lead to a mechanical failure. When this occurs, a claim of negligence can be brought against the repair shop responsible for the shoddy work.
There are some mechanical problems, however, that do not result from any sort of oversight or negligence. There are cases where a private seller, or even a motorcycle dealership, will sell a motorcycle with the full knowledge that it is in bad mechanical shape. Some will even go to the extreme of hiding the fact that the bike is in such poor shape. In one instance, a man contacted us who had bought a bike from a licensed, and supposedly reputable, dealer. But when he rode the motorcycle home, he noticed it was behaving erratically. He was able to take the bike to a repair shop for an inspection, luckily for him, before suffering any sort of injury due to an accident. The shop was able to determine that, below the bike’s new fairings, a part called the “triple tree” was cracked, and that could have led to a disastrous accident. Also, the radiator was not attached properly. In addition, and almost unbelievably, the frame had been damaged, and the damage concealed with spray paint and body filler.
What had basically happened was that the motorcycle had been previously wrecked, but the dealership did some cosmetic “repairs” and misrepresented the bike as being in good condition. This is not only a blatant violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the faulty motorcycle could easily have killed the buyer. Not only could the buyer sue the dealership for negligence, but this blatant attempt at deception that occurred in the effort to sell a dangerously flawed motorcycle could also result in punitive damages against the dealership as well.
Written by Admin
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