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Manufacturer Liability in Motorcycle Accident Cases

Motorcyclists rely on their bikes to perform predictably. Unfortunately, defective vehicles may cause crashes and serious injury to riders.

If you were injured in an accident caused by a defective motorcycle, you might be able to claim compensation from the manufacturer. Discuss your case with a lawyer who focuses on manufacturer liability in motorcycle accident cases. The personal injury attorneys at Tittle & Perlmuter could provide advice on how best to proceed.

manufacturer liability in motorcycle accident

Ohio Law Makes Manufacturers Liable

If a traffic accident occurs due a malfunctioning bike part, Ohio Revised Code §2307.75(B) allows those injured to claim compensation based on product liability.

The law describes four ways that an injured plaintiff could pursue damages from a manufacturer.

Design Defect

If an injured motorcyclist alleges a design defect, they must show that the product was unreasonably dangerous to all users and demonstrate that the manufacturers could have designed the product to be less hazardous.

Manufacturing Defect

An injured party may bring a manufacturing defect claim if a particular product was defective when it left the factory. The plaintiff must show that the specific malfunctioning item deviated from other units of the same product. If a plaintiff can show that it did not meet the manufacturer’s usual standard, there is no need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent.

Failure to Warn

If the instructions for a product did not inform the consumer how to use it safely or did not provide essential warnings to protect the user, the plaintiff may claim a failure to warn. An injured motorcyclist and their attorney must prove that the manufacturer knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and that a reasonable manufacturer would have warned about it.

Failure to Conform to Representations

When a manufacturer makes claims about their products, consumers have the right to rely on that information. If a motorcycle part did not perform as its manufacturer said it would, an injured biker could pursue a claim against the manufacturer for failure to conform. The plaintiff must then demonstrate that the product did not live up to the manufacturer’s claims.

Damages in Motorcycle Manufacturer Liability Cases

If a motorcyclist is successful in their manufacturer liability claim, they will receive an award of damages. Economic damages may reimburse the expenses of treating, healing from, and coping with their injury’s ongoing effects.

Compensation also typically includes money for intangible losses like pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium. The law caps this form of compensation at three times the amount of economic damages or $350,000, whichever is greater. However, these limits do not apply if a plaintiff suffered a permanent injury that caused significant deformity or loss of bodily function.

How Could a Bike Manufacturer Defend Against Liability Claims?

Manufacturers tend to fight hard against product defect claims. They may use several defense strategies to avoid responsibility in a lawsuit. As such, an injured motorcyclist should work with a savvy attorney who understands how to counteract these legal tactics.

Liability for Motorcycle Misuse or Alterations

For one, a manufacturer might assert that the plaintiff misused or altered the product, causing it to fail. To use this defense, the manufacturer must demonstrate how the plaintiff’s actions rendered the item unsafe. A skilled lawyer could argue that the manufacturer should have anticipated how the plaintiff used the product to counteract this defense.

Contributory Negligence in Motorcycle Defect Claims

To limit their liability in a motorcycle accident case, a manufacturer may also use contributory negligence as a defense. If a biker’s negligence contributed to the motorcycle crash, a judge could find them partially responsible for their injuries. They may still be able to collect damages, but the judge will reduce any award by an amount equal to the motorcyclist’s percentage of fault.

Product Liability or Reasonable Risk?

Finally, a manufacturer could contend that a plaintiff assumed the risk of using the product. They may argue that motorcycling riding is dangerous and that bikers know the risks involved. In such a case, one of our experienced attorneys can present evidence that a motorcyclist did not assume the specific risks that resulted from product failure.

Call an Attorney who Understands Manufacturer Liability in Motorcycle Accident Cases

In many cases, a biker is at a severe disadvantage when pursuing damages from a manufacturer. These companies often have many resources to fight product liability claims and deny injured victims the compensation they deserve.

At Tittle & Perlmuter, our skilled lawyers know how to level the playing field and help accident victims achieve their desired results. If you were hurt due to a faulty bike, consult an attorney with extensive knowledge of manufacturer liability in motorcycle accident cases. Call today to speak to a member of our team.