You’re in a motorcycle accident. Is the manufacturer responsible for your injuries? They might be. Learn when you can seek compensation from your motorcycle’s manufacturer from Mullen & Mullen.
When you get in a motorcycle accident, can you sue the company who made it? If so, under which circumstances can you?
The short answer is yes, you can absolutely sue your motorcycle’s manufacture. However, you have to show they had liability in your accident. You may not be able to pursue them for the full coverage of the accident if multiple parties have responsibility for your injuries.
Take a look at some of the factors that come into play in filing lawsuits against motorcycle manufacturers:
The Defect Must Meet These Three Criteria
As a general principle, in order to hold a motorcycle manufacturer liable for a defect, you must:
- Show the defect was actually present
- Show it was reasonably foreseeable
- The defect proximately caused the harm
What if you got your motorcycle used? That complicates the issue somewhat. For example, the previous person’s use of the bike could have caused a defect in its operation. However, just because you got the bike used doesn’t mean you can’t hold the manufacturer responsible for your injuries.
What Damages Can You Recover?
Damages in motorcycle accident claims fall into three broad categories:
- Compensatory damages, which are the straightforward damages like medical bills, motorcycle repairs, lost wages, and so on.
- General damages, which are harder to show because they have more subjective definitions. For example, this includes compensation for pain and suffering, anxiety, and loss of quality of life.
- Punitive damages, which to punish the offending party because their act was so despicable. For example, if a manufacturer knows of loose fender screws that can result in the fender rubbing on the motorcycle tire and unexpectedly reducing the motorcycle’s speed, and does nothing to correct the defect, that could result in punitive damages.
Take a Look at This Case Example Involving Ducati
In 2010, Ducati got on the wrong side of a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged the company installed plastic gas tanks that could get deformed by ethanol fuel. The deformities resulted in the motorcycles losing full range of steering, fuel leaking onto the engine, and destabilization of the motorcycle’s weight distribution. After just 2,000 miles or so, the problems became so severe that it was no longer safe to operate a Ducati anywhere on the road.
The company wanted to simply replace the gas tanks with identical ones that came with longer warranties. But, enough motorcycle owners filed lawsuits that eventually Ducati gave all bike owners extended repairs and paid for fuel tank problems caused by ethanol fuel.
Commentary wasn’t available on the injuries this caused Americans. But, you can safely assume that this defect had a high likelihood of causing motorcycle wrecks, severe injuries, and fatalities.
So, if you believe your motorcycle came with a defect the manufacturer knew or should have known about, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer right away.