If driver or rider is harmed by a defect in a vehicle, a manufacturer may be held responsible. In a recent case in Georgia, a jury found Suzuki Motor Corp. and its American subsidiary liable for a motorcycle crash that shattered a Georgia man’s spine.
The jury in Douglas County handed down a $12.5 million verdict at trial against the companies, reported Courtroom View Network.
Jurors in Douglas County State Court concluded defective brakes on Adrian Johns’ 2006 Suzuki GSX R-1000 motorcycle caused a serious crash that broke the rider’s back, left him with ongoing mobility problems and meant he was unable to return to a career in the postal service.
The award by the jury included $10.5 million to Johns and $2 million to his wife, Gwen. The jury rejected a claim for punitive damages to punish Suzuki and apportioned 49 percent of the responsibility for the wreck to the rider. That move may reduce the post-verdict award.
Lawyers for the Johns family requested just over $14 million in compensatory damages.
Johns crashed in August 2013. He claimed the wreck was caused by a front brake defect that Suzuki knew about long before the crash but failed to promptly warn its riders.
Suzuki recalled more than 200,000 bikes in October 2013, just two months after Johns was seriously hurt in a wreck. The defect was found on GSX Suzuki motorcycles made between 2004 and 2013.
Attorneys for the motorcycle manufacturer argued Johns was driving recklessly at the time of the wreck. They said he did not immediately blame the defect in the aftermath of the serious crash.
Johns told an officer at crash scene he hit gravel just before the wreck and did not mention any issue with his brakes. Gravel is a serious hazard for motorcyclists.
Major recalls have hit the car and motorcycle industry in recent years. One of the most serious has been the recall of cars with Takata air bags. In some cases, these Japanese-manufactured airbags have exploded during fender benders, sending shrapnel into drivers and passengers.
The defect is linked to at least 10 deaths and more than 28.8 million cars have been recalled over the last few years.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by a defective product, please call our Newnan personal injury lawyers at (404) 913-1529.