Who Is Liable if You Are Injured Because of a Defective Motorcycle?

Wrecked motorcycle, helmet, and car on road

One of the greatest risks a motorcyclist and other motorists face is defective brakes or another vehicle malfunction. Dangerous defects often play a part in motorcycle accidents that leave victims seriously injured. Our motorcycle accident lawyers at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad are well-versed in handling cases involving vehicle defects. Our experienced team understands the multifaceted aspects of motorcycle accident cases in Pennsylvania. We help injured victims understand their rights and who may be liable for damages.

Types of Defects That Can Lead to Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries

Many different things can go wrong with motorcycles and other vehicles. Some common types of defects include:

  • Brake failure –Improper brake installation and defective parts are the two main culprits of brake failure. Depending on the circumstances, the parts or motorcycle manufacturer or bike shop that installed the brakes may be liable if brake failure causes a motor vehicle accident.
  • Defective tires – Defects in motorcycle tires often are related to poor design, materials, and construction or improper installation. A sudden flat or separation of treads and other components can easily cause a motorcyclist to crash and be thrown from their bike.
  • Design flaws – When designers fail to recognize improper or dangerous design in motorcycle components, it can result in life-threatening accidents. For example, designers of the Kawasaki KLX110 and KLX110L placed the fuel tank close to an ignition source of the motorcycle, which significantly increased the likelihood of fire or explosion in the event of a crash. This poor design prompted a recall in 2014.
  • Manufacturing defects – Quality parts and manufacturing are essential for a motorcycle to function properly. Poor quality, improper assembly, and missing parts all can lead to serious malfunctions that cause motorcycle accidents and injuries. Some examples of manufacturing defects that can be deadly include stuck throttles, chain failures, faulty wiring, and defective handlebars, pedals, and clutches.
  • Helmet and other motorcycle gear defects – Lack of impact-resistant materials and chin strap or helmet fastener defects can lead to life-changing head, brain, spine, and facial injuries. When motorcycle jackets, pants, boots, gloves, and other gear are improperly constructed or made with materials ineffective for protection, bikers can suffer serious road rash or disfigurement. Although bikers are not required to wear helmets in Pennsylvania, wearing a DOT-approved helmet and proper gear can help you avoid serious injury and save your life.

Determining Liability in Motorcycle Accident Cases

Accidents caused by motorcycle defects usually fall under the umbrella of product liability claims. Although defects often arise during the design and production process, improper installation and maintenance can be responsible for malfunctions as well. Each case is different, and the entity or person who may be liable depends on the specific circumstances. Some potentially liable parties may include:

  • Motorcycle and parts designers
  • Manufacturers
  • Sellers or distributors
  • The motorcycle shop or mechanic who serviced your bike

Determining liability in defective motorcycle accident cases requires the experience and knowledge of seasoned personal injury lawyers. For a personal injury lawsuit or claim to be successful, a motorcycle accident lawyer must prove that the motorcycle was defective, the defect caused injury, and you were using the motorcycle as intended.

Proving Fault in Motorcycle Accident Claims

Many different elements come together to prove a defect caused a crash. Your motorcycle accident attorney should know how to gather relevant evidence and perform an exhaustive investigation of how the accident happened, exactly what caused the malfunction, and who may be at fault. Often, expert witnesses are called in to show that the motorcycle had a design or manufacturing defect.

Recovering Compensation for Damages

Proving fault in these types of cases is challenging. Motorcycle manufacturers and their insurers often do anything they can to pay minimal settlements or deny claims altogether. It can be easy to undervalue the financial and emotional costs of extensive medical care, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other damages. Without the assistance of knowledgeable professionals, injured victims have very little chance of recovering maximum compensation in motorcycle accident claims. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will fight for your rights and help you hold all responsible parties accountable.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Eastern PA

At Thomas, Conrad & Conrad, we’re dedicated to helping injured victims and their families throughout eastern Pennsylvania find the compensation and justice they deserve. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact us online or call us at 610-867-2900 to schedule a free consultation.


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