Manufacturer of Defective Motorbike Must Compensate Accident Victim
In a highly unusual case, a surgeon who was seriously injured when the brakes of his motorbike seized due to a manufacturing defect has won more than £40,000 in damages under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
The bike had been bought second hand by the surgeon, but it was under two years old and had less than 4,000 miles on the clock when the brakes seized without warning and he was thrown into the road. He suffered a badly fractured wrist and damage to two fingers on his left hand. His injuries interfered with his recreations, daily activities and particularly his work, which required fine finger movements.
After he sued the motorbike’s manufacturers, a judge found on the basis of expert evidence that the accident was caused by corrosion in the braking system that arose through a design defect combined with faulty construction or the use of inappropriate materials. The manufacturers were strictly liable under the Act for the consequences of the accident and were ordered to pay the surgeon £43,986 in damages.
In rejecting the manufacturers’ challenge to that decision, the Court of Appeal noted that the motorbike had been properly serviced and maintained. There was corrosion where there ought not to have been and the judge was entitled to infer that there must have been a defect in the braking system of the particular motorbike.