Defendants In Motorcycle Cases: Who Are They?

Motorcycle accidents happen much too often and can be caused by any number of factors including bad weather, poor roadways or mechanical problems. When one of these factors results in an accident, who is to blame?

Anyone and everyone

That’s the short answer to the question. However, we asked California attorney, biker and member of the Advocate Law Group network, Claude Wyle, who has been practicing law and riding for over 25 years to expand that answer. According to Wyle, “Anybody who hurts a motorcyclist, whether that is another driver or a public entity who has maintained their roadways solely for drivers and not for motorcyclists can be liable.”

Weather, roadways and public entities

Weather and roadways can be particularly treacherous to motorcyclists because they are much more vulnerable to the elements on the roadway than the well-insulated automobile driver. Wyle explained, “They’re vulnerable to weather, such as heat, cold and wind. They’re certainly much more vulnerable to wetness. A motorcycle does not stick very well on a wet road and it turns by virtue of leaning. The contact patch that the tire has with the pavement is always a lot smaller and motorcyclists handle it in a unique way. If there is an imperfection, deviation or danger in the roadway – such as a big pothole, bump or just an uneven roadway that that might cause somebody in a car to feel a little tickle in their stomach – it could very well cause a motorcyclist to lose control. These things are important.”

“In addition, painted stripes on a road are a lot more slippery for a motorcycle tire going over them and pose more of a danger than a four-wheel vehicle. So, you’ve got other drivers, public entities and then of course people who make motorcycles and motorcycle helmets or products for motorcyclists. There’s always the potential that things have not been thought through well enough, that they have not been manufactured to high enough standards, that they break, that you have a dangerous product or that the product might hurt a motorcyclist.”

Mechanical and repair issues

A bike that malfunctions has a greater chance of being in an accident, which is why those who repair bikes can often become defendants when they don’t do their job correctly. Wyle explained, “If a car’s engine stops on the freeway, it can certainly be very dangerous because you might get hit by other traffic. However, if something happens in the middle of a motorcycle ride, you may see a greater injury because the riders may fall down and get hurt. So, it’s all the more important that the mechanic does their job correctly. Motorcycle mechanics are the people who finally assemble a motorcycle. In most cases, a motorcycle comes in a box and is assembled at the dealership. However, there’s a final assembly procedure and it’s critically important that this is done correctly or you may end up with a motorcycle with some defects that were not intended or even anticipated by the factory itself.”

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle or bicycle accident, contact an attorney whose practice focuses in this area of law. Click here, for a free consultation with a motorcycle accident attorney.

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