Image of a motorcycle helmet and motorcycle lying on the ground near a car

Motorcycles are exhilarating vehicles that provide a sense of freedom and adventure on the open road. However, they also come with unique risks and challenges, including mechanical failures that can lead to crashes.

In 2020, 82,528 motorcycle accidents resulted in an injury in the U.S. While many crashes resulted from another road user’s negligent actions, mechanical failures in headlights, tires, or other vital parts also contributed to a significant number of those crashes.

Being aware of the most common mechanical issues that can cause motorcycle crashes can help you take measures to stay safe on South Carolina roads. If you’re involved in a collision due to someone else’s negligence, whether that of a driver or a motorcycle part manufacturer, our South Carolina motorcycle accident lawyers at Joye Law Firm can help you seek compensation.

Issue #1: Brake Failure

Brake failure can occur for various reasons, such as worn brake pads, leaks in the hydraulic system, or a malfunctioning master cylinder. When a motorcycle’s brakes fail, the rider loses the ability to slow down or stop, often resulting in catastrophic accidents.

To prevent brake failure, regularly check and replace worn brake pads and inspect the hydraulic system for leaks. Schedule periodic maintenance with a professional to examine the brake system, including the master cylinder, for potential issues.

Issue #2: Tire Blowouts or Excessive Wear

A motorcycle’s tires are its only point of contact with the road, making proper tire traction and pressure crucial. Tires can blow out due to punctures, low pressure, or excessive wear and tear. A sudden tire blowout can cause the rider to lose control and crash, especially at high speeds.

Routinely inspect your tires for signs of wear, punctures, or damage, and maintain proper tire pressure according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Before long rides, have the tires professionally inspected and replaced if they show signs of excessive wear.

Issue #3: Steering Mechanism Defects

Issues with a motorcycle’s steering mechanism, such as loose or damaged components, can make it challenging to maintain control. Steering problems can lead to wobbling, veering off course, or loss of balance, resulting in accidents.

To avoid steering mechanism defects, inspect your motorcycle for any loose or damaged steering components and have them repaired or replaced immediately if discovered.

Issue #5: Engine Failure

Engine failure is less common but can occur due to oil leaks, overheating, or defective parts. When the engine unexpectedly stalls or seizes, riders may find themselves in hazardous situations, especially if it happens in traffic or on a highway.

Regular maintenance, including oil changes and checking for leaks or overheating signs, can help prevent engine failure. Also, pay attention to any unusual noises or performance issues. Have your motorcycle inspected by a professional if these symptoms arise.

Issue #6: Faulty Clutch or Gear System

A malfunctioning clutch or gear system can disrupt a rider’s ability to control the motorcycle smoothly. Difficulty shifting gears or a slipping clutch can lead to sudden loss of power, making it challenging to navigate traffic or avoid potential hazards.

Preventing issues with the clutch or gear system involves regular checks and adjustments of the clutch for proper tension and responsiveness. Have the gear system serviced as soon as possible if shifting becomes difficult or irregular.

Issue #7: Electrical System Failures

The electrical system in motorcycles controls essential functions such as lights, indicators, and ignition. Electrical failures can result in a lack of visibility for the rider or cause the motorcycle to stall unexpectedly, contributing to accidents.

Prevent electrical system failures by regularly checking the battery, lights, indicators, and wiring for any signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. Have these components replaced as needed to ensure optimal performance and visibility.

How Do You Receive Compensation After a Motorcycle Crash?

If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle crash due to a mechanical problem, seeking compensation can involve the following steps. Our team at Joye Law Firm can help you identify who is at fault for the crash and file a claim for your damages.

  • Identify the Defendant: This could be the manufacturer of the motorcycle or its parts (in case of inherent defects) or the service provider who last serviced the motorcycle (if negligent repairs or performance of maintenance led to the accident). Most often, another driver is the one partially or fully responsible for a crash.
  • Collect Evidence: Gather all possible evidence, including:
    • Service records and receipts
    • Photographs of the motorcycle and the crash scene
    • Police reports
    • Eyewitness accounts
    • Expert testimony about the motorcycle’s condition
  • Prove Negligence or Product Liability: You must show that the maintenance or repair service provider failed to meet the expected standard of care, leading to mechanical failure. If suing the manufacturer, you must prove that the motorcycle or a specific part was defective and that there is a direct link between the mechanical failure and the accident. Likewise, if another driver caused your wreck, you need to show that their actions, or failure to act, directly contributed to your motorcycle accident.
  • Document Injuries and Damages: Keep detailed records of injuries, medical treatments, and how the crash impacted your life and income. This can include a personal journal, paystubs, hospital bills, prescriptions, and photographs.
  • Consult an Attorney: Speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can guide you through the legal aspects of your claim and help build a strong case. This can include filing a lawsuit in court, investigating the accident, interviewing witnesses, and representing you during trial.

Hold the Negligent Party Responsible After a Motorcycle Crash

Motorcycle crashes are distressing events that can lead to severe consequences. Whether your motorcycle wreck was triggered by irresponsible driver or because a negligent manufacturer or service provider caused a mechanical malfunction on your motorcycle, speak with our team at Joye Law Firm.

We understand the bias you may face as an injured motorcyclist and can fight aggressively to overcome them to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Put our experience and dedication to work for you by contacting our law firm today for a free case review.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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