A recent news report detailed how motorcycle manufacturer Suzuki has been ordered to pay a motorcyclist $8 million for its role in the motorcyclist’s 2013 crash. The jury, which sat in Santa Ana in Orange County, awarded the motorcyclist $2 million in compensation and $6 million in punitive damages. The company indicates it plans to appeal.
The accident which led to this verdict happened because another vehicle pulled out in front of the motorcycle the victim was driving. The motorcyclist was traveling within the posted speed limit and should have been able to stop the motorcycle safely. However, when he braked, the brakes did not work and he struck the vehicle. As a result, the man was thrown off of his motorcycle and suffered serious injuries.
A few months after this accident, Suzuki recalled the model of the motorcycle the man was riding on account of a problem with the brakes, a problem that apparently caused the man’s accident. In the trial, Suzuki implied that it had done what it could to correct the problem once it knew about it, while the man argued that Suzuki knew about the braking problem with the motorcycle well before his motorcycle accident.
Although there is often a lot of focus on motorcycle accidents that inattentive or careless drivers cause, as this case illustrates, sometimes a problem with the motorcycle itself can lead to a disaster for an unwitting motorcyclist who was driving as safely as possible. In particular, motorcyclists rely on safety equipment, like their brakes, and it is imperative that such equipment operates correctly whenever it is needed. Fortunately, motorcyclists who are injured by a defective motorcycle may be able to seek compensation for their losses.