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California Motorcycle Malfunctions and Accidents

Motorcycle Malfunction and Accident Liability in California

Motorcycle riders are much more susceptible to suffering serious bodily injuries than a car accident victim because they do not have nearly as much protection. Motorcycle accident victims typically deal with costly medical bills, loss of income, as well as emotional pain, physical pain, road rash, mental suffering, and PTSD. It goes without saying that recovery from a motorcycle accident is a long process.

Most motorcycle crashes are typically caused by someone’s negligence. However, that will not always be the case. Below, our knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorneys will go over faulty motorcycles and how it relates to accident claims.

If you have suffered injuries as a result of a motorcycle collision in California, our attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are always here to answer any questions you may have about accident claims and available damages.

Common Motorcycle Malfunctions

Motorcycle Malfunction and Accidents in California

As mentioned, most motorcycle accidents are caused by someone’s negligence, either the motorcyclist or another driver. However, accidents can also be caused by mechanical issues. Below are some common examples:

  • Say that a manufacturing defect causes a tiny crack in the motorcycle’s frame. Over time, a break in the motorcycle’s frame can affect performance and may make a motorcycle more susceptible to eventual malfunction.
  • Brake malfunction can be horrendous. A high speed motorcycle accident caused by faulty brakes will have horrific consequences on a rider.
  • Defective handlebars are another example of motorcycle malfunction that can easily cause rider instability, as well as negatively affect his or her ability to safety steer a motorcycle.
  • Unexpected stalling is another common example of motorcycle malfunction. A sudden stop caused by a mechanical defect is very dangerous and can not only cause the rider to be thrown from his or her motorcycle, but may also affect drivers driving behind that rider.
  • Defective tires and wheels can also cause tremendous damage. Unlike a car that can still drive to safety with a blown out tire, a motorcycle that suffers a tire explosion will immediately become unstable and injuries will almost be a certainty.
  • A motorcycle fire can easily be caused by a defect in the gas tank. These types of product defects are difficult to discover and unfortunately cause very serious injuries and possibly death.

California Product Liability

Not all motorcycle accidents are caused by poor roads or a driver’s negligence. Some accidents may be caused by defective parts or machinery. According to California products liability law, any businesses who designed, manufactured, or sold a defective part can be held liable for injuries caused.

In these cases, an injured motorcycle rider will not have to prove that the company was negligent. Strict liability after a motorcycle defect case can be imposed for:

  1. Manufacturing defects
  2. Design defects
    1. Failing to warn a user of any defects

In order to recover damages, an injured motorcycle rider needs to show that:

  1. The defendant designed, made, distributed and/or sold the defective product
  2. The product was defective when it left the defendant’s’ possession
  3. The motorcycle rider used this product in a reasonable manner
  4. The motorcycle rider was harmed or injured because of the product defect

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages

The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help

If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a motorcycle accident, our experienced personal injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, which includes medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate legal team.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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