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Who Is Liable for Defective Motorcycle Gear?

Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC

When you’ve been in a vehicle accident, there are a number of things that can injure you. Most likely, the accident itself caused harm. Vehicles that were otherwise working perfectly were suddenly bent and twisted out of shape, harming their occupants. If the vehicle itself is not badly damaged, the driver can still be hurt from being thrown around or banging against the sides of the vehicle.

Sometimes, in a motorcycle accident, the bike itself doesn’t need to sustain much damage for the rider to be hurt. If they are thrown clear of the bike, they can sustain several injuries. This is why riders rely on their gear to protect them. What happens, then, when the gear doesn’t work as it should? A helmet explodes, clothes rip apart, or boots fly off. When this happens, the rider’s injuries may be the fault of the gear itself.

When you’ve been harmed by faulty gear, you may be eligible to file a product defect lawsuit.

What Is a Product Defect Claim?

In a defective product lawsuit, you can sue the manufacturers of the product. Essentially, you are claiming that you were hurt because you used the product, and that you would not have been hurt if you had used something else. The manufacturer did a poor job of building the item, and their negligence caused your injuries.

For a product defect lawsuit to be successful, you need to prove at least one of three different claims.

  1. Manufacturer error

In this accusation, you are claiming that a mistake was made when the item was built. Something was assembled or attached incorrectly, resulting in an injury. The key word is “error.” The company meant for the item to work a certain way, but a mistake was made.

  1. Design flaw

Sometimes a product is created correctly, and people are still hurt. This happens during the development of the product. The designers make a decision, and all of the products are then produced the same way. That decision, however, may have been a mistake. Perhaps a motorcycle helmet has an odd shape that ends up protecting only one side of the cranium. The problem is not from a faulty strap or buckle. The very shape of the helmet itself makes it dangerous. This is an example of a design flaw.

  1. Improper labeling

This claim is usually reserved for products that are inherently dangerous. For example, if there is a particular part of the motorcycle that may overheat, the bike manufacturer needs to make that clear to the consumer. Their product documents should make any dangers known, or they should directly label the part itself.

In the case of protective gear, clothing that provides little protection may be marketed as protective. Denim jeans are a common choice among riders, but not all jeans are equal. Some are designed strictly to be fashionable, and some are made heavy-duty, specifically to protect workers and riders. If a company tries to pass off weak, designer jeans as appropriate protective gear, that would be an example of mislabeling.

How Can Motorcycle Gear Be Defective?

To be fully protected on your bike, you should have a helmet, jacket, gloves, pants, and boots. Since all motorcycle gear is some form of clothing, there are common ways it can be defective and harmful to riders.

Gear Can Be Misshapen

A misshapen product is the result of a design flaw. Gear can be poorly designed and fit the body wrong. Protective clothing should be hugging the body in specific areas. Any design flaw that creates looseness or gaps of air can leave the body exposed. Items can shift, creating space where skin can hit the road. Helmets that should be absorbing impacts can twist, obscuring vision or leaving parts of the skull vulnerable.

Gear Can Have Poor Construction

If the clothing is put together poorly, that is likely the result of a manufacturer error. Bad stitching can cause products to burst apart in an accident. Helmets must have sturdy straps and appropriate protective lining. Loose straps or padding can have dangerous results on the road. Boot tread can be weak or poorly attached, ripping off when it is needed most.

Seeking a Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in any kind of vehicle accident, you should schedule time with an attorney. Lawyers can help you determine if pursuing a lawsuit is possible or even worth the effort.

After hearing the details of your accident, a lawyer will help you determine who is liable for your injuries. It may be the other person in the accident; it might be the makers of your motorcycle; or it could be the manufacturers of your gear. If the fault lies with the bike or the gear, there may already be a class action lawsuit that you could join against the manufacturers.A good lawyer can help you sift through the details and develop a plan to pursue the justice you deserve.

If you’ve been injured by defective motorcycle gear, we can help. Contact us online, or call us today at (918) 347-6456.

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