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Motorcycle Defects and Liability Issues

Motorcycle Defects and Liability IssuesMotorcyclists are already at a disadvantage on the road. They are the group of motorists who are the most at risk of sustaining serious injuries in a traffic accident. Because motorcyclists are not always protected by airbags, and their rides lack the metal frames of cars and commercial trucks, motorcyclists are more vulnerable in a traffic accident.

With all this the additional vulnerability, motorcyclists do not need the added worry of wondering whether their motorcycle will fall apart on the roadway. Yet, that is the reality for many riders. Defective parts are a dangerous reality, and play a major role in Chattanooga motorcycle accidents.

What are some common defective parts in motorcycles?

Some of the common types of motorcycle defects include:

  • Frame defects. When motorcycle frames fail to withstand the regular riding conditions, they are capable of cracking, collecting rust and leaving the motorcycle exposed to all elements of the road. Metal fatigue is a real risk, and the bike can fall apart mid-ride.
  • Engine failure. The breakdown of a motorcycle engine can cause the bike to stop and start at times when the motorcyclist must keep moving, like in the middle of traffic. Just breaking down unexpectedly can put the motorcyclist in a dangerous situation on the roadway; unexpectedly stopping and starting can put the motorcyclist at a greater risk of being struck by another vehicle.
  • Brake failure. The inability to stop a motorcycle at an appropriate time, especially if the motorcyclist was speeding, can increase the likelihood of a fatal traffic accident occurring.
  • Defective wheels/tires and handlebars. Wheel and tire defects can cause a motorcyclist to lose control of the motorcycle and swerve uncontrollably in other lanes. Motorcyclists are also at risk of skidding while slowing down or swerving off of the roadway. A motorcycle’s handlebars also play an important role in maintaining control of the motorcycle. When the handlebars are defective or damaged, motorcyclists have extreme difficulty steering and keeping the motorcycle from wobbling uncontrollably.

What injuries are caused by motorcycle defects?

Some of the injuries that motorcyclists can sustain from accidents caused by motorcycle defects include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, amputations, and road rash. Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most common injuries, because riders can be ejected from motorcycles easily. Even motorcycle riders who are wearing helmets may suffer a TBI; helmets offer a necessary level of protection and reduce fatalities, but even the best ones may literally crack from impact.

The nature of the accident can also cause the motorcyclist to suffer from road rash, another common injury for motorcyclists. Road rash is an injury where the skin of a motorcyclist comes into close contact with a rough surface. Severe road rash can lead to skin grafts and permanent disfigurement in some cases, and poses a life-threatening risk of infection.

What makes motorcycle defects so dangerous to riders and drivers?

Motorcycle defects can put motorcyclists and other motorists in danger due to the breakdown in safety. Even though there is an element of danger that comes with riding motorcycles, riders put their trust in the motorcycle manufacturing companies that all motorcycle products are safe to operate.

When parts of a motorcycle are faulty, an accident is virtually guaranteed to happen. The motorcyclist no longer has control over the motorcycle or how to operate it, leading to serious accidents for the motorcyclist and other motorists on the road.

Who can be held liable for accidents created by motorcycle defects?

The motorcycle manufacturing company can be held liable for any damages sustained in a motorcycle accident caused by their defective parts. Again, while there is an element of risk that comes with motorcycle riding, manufacturing companies have an obligation to provide safe and effective products to their consumers.

If a motorcyclist can prove that the defective parts of a motorcycle caused their accident, he or she can hold the manufacturing company liable for any damages sustained in the collision. In some cases, the motorcyclist’s repair shop can be held liable for any damages in the accident. This depends on certain factors like the length of time of the motorcyclist’s last visit or whether the mechanic who operated on the motorcycle installed the parts of the motorcycle improperly.

Other parties that can be held liable for any damages sustained in a motorcycle accident are retailers and distributors. While manufacturing companies are responsible for manufacturing products that are safe for the general public to use, some retailers will still sell defective motorcycle products, even with the knowledge that the products have been recalled.

How to prove that a defective motorcycle part caused the accident

For a rider to prove that the defective parts caused a motorcycle accident, certain factors must be established. We must prove that you were riding the bike the way it was intended, that a defect was present and it caused the motorcycle to malfunction, and that you suffered injuries related to that defect. We must also determine whether there were any appropriate warning labels or signs that were included with the motorcycle parts.

If we can determine that the defect in the product existed, we may be able to file a claim against the manufacturing company on your behalf. Collecting certain evidence, like parts of the defective equipment left at the scene of the accident, can help strengthen your claim. The damage from the accident can be used to determine if the accident did happen due to a defective part.

If you or a loved one was injured by a defective product, do not delay in contacting Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, a law firm dedicated to justice. Our reputable Chattanooga motorcycle accident attorneys are members of your community. We serve clients in Cleveland and Chattanooga, TN, and throughout North Georgia. We care about the wellbeing of our clients and work hard to fight for your interests. Call us today at 423-756-7923, or complete a contact form to schedule a free consultation.