Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Boston

When it comes to motorcycles, Harley-Davidson bikes have been a symbol of quality, coolness, and high-performance dating back to the 1940s. That does not mean they are always safe, though. When a Harley contains a design defect or other flaw that interferes with the safe operation of the bike, which causes or contributes to an accident, the motorcycle maker can and should be held liable.

If you or a family member have been injured in an accident involving a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, the Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers can help. Our motorcycle attorneys are not only highly skilled negotiators and litigators, but many are bike riders and Harley-Davidson aficionados, too.

We have recovered millions of dollars for injured motorcyclists and their families. We can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and more. Not only do we have a winning track record, but our law firm has the resources to go up against deep-pocketed companies like Harley-Davidson and win.

Our case evaluations are free and we take cases on a contingency basis, which means there is no cost to you until we win your case.

A Brief History of Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson was founded in Milwaukee in 1903 by friends William Harley and Arthur Davidson. The company took off during World War II when Harley-Davidson manufactured about 60,000 motorcycles for the United States military.

When the soldiers returned from the war in the 1940s, many of them purchased Harley-Davidsons and swapped their conservative pre-war lives for ones characterized by freedom and mobility. From 1945 to 1970, the number of motorcycles registered in the U.S. spiked from about 200,000 to just under 3 million.

Films that featured Harleys like “Easy Rider” and “The Wild One” increased the popularity of the motorcycles. As the 70s ended, Harley-Davidson was more than a brand of motorcycles—it had become a lifestyle complete with leather jackets, T-shirts and a club known as the “Harley Owners Club.” Harley-Davidson symbolized not only freedom but coolness itself.

Harley-Davidson continued to thrive for the next 35 years, reporting $1 billion in profit in 2006. However, the company was hard hit by the recession and has struggled with sales since.

Motorcycle Defect Lawsuits Against Harley-Davidson

Despite Harley-Davidson’s solid reputation and loyal customer following, the motorcycle maker has been called out in recent years over alleged defects. These defects have caused safety issues and serious, even fatal motorcycle accidents.

Bad brakes: Harley-Davidson is facing several class-action lawsuits accusing the company of selling bikes with a defective anti-lock brake system. One suit claims that Harley dealers and riders were not warned that certain Harley-Davidson touring models contained a defective wiring harness that could cause sudden brake failure. The bikes allegedly affected are Harley-Davidson Touring and CVO Touring models, which include the Electra Glide, Road Glide, Street Glide and Road King.

Overheating engines: Another class-action lawsuit maintains that Harley-Davidson sold motorcycles with a design defect that caused the bikes’ engines to run hot posing a burn hazard to riders. According to the lawsuit, which dates back to 1999, certain twin-cam engines installed in Harley-Davidson motorcycles produced enough heat to cause clothing to catch on fire resulting in burn injuries to both the rider and any passengers.

High-speed wobble: A class-action lawsuit claims that certain Harley-Davidson motorcycles have a defect that results in a high-speed “wobble” that can cause motorcyclists to lose control of their bikes. The accidents, also known as “tank-slapper” accidents, involve shaking and instability in the front-end of the motorcycle and can cause the bike to thrash from side to side. According to the lawsuit, the Electra Glide, Road King and Ultra Classic were all involved in these accidents.

Traction control software: A lawsuit claims that a 2010 Harley-Davidson trike malfunctioned, causing it to strike an embankment and overturn, killing one of the trike’s occupants and injuring the other. The lawsuit blames the malfunction on allegedly defective traction control software manufactured by another company that the suit says caused activation of the rear brake and a sudden change of direction. Harley-Davidson reportedly issued a recall for the software in 2019.

HotCars, a website for driving enthusiasts, claims that certain Harley-Davidson bikes have other “glaring problems,” including:

  • Cracked fuel filter shells, which can cause a loss of fuel pressure and affect the bike’s performance causing the engine to stall or fail to start.
  • Clutches that fail to disengage because of a defect with the clutch master cylinder.
  • Saddlebags that have the potential to separate from the motorcycle.
  • Rear brake light switches that are prone to degradation and brake light failure.
  • Exhaust pipes that can burn a rider’s legs.
  • Incorrect front tires.
  • Lose rear sprocket bolts.
  • Lack of rear reflector.

It’s possible for a motorcycle to have a defect that affects only one bike. A motorcycle attorney can perform an investigation to identify the cause of your accident.

Harley-Davidson Motorcycle and Parts Recalls

Over the years, Harley-Davidson has issued recalls for entire motorcycles, as well as certain motorcycle parts. A recall occurs when Harley-Davidson determines that one of its motorcycles or motorcycle parts has a defect, or when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration orders a recall because a Harley-Davidson motorcycle doesn’t comply with federal safety standards.

In most cases, Harley-Davidson will inform the motorcycle owner of the recall and provide information on the nature of the defect and required repairs. If you suspect that your Harley-Davidson has been recalled, you can verify the recall through NHTSA’s website. You’ll need your Harley’s vehicle identification, or VIN number, which is stamped on the steering head and also included on a label on the right front down tube.

Harley-Davidson also provides recall information on its website.

Motorcyclists can report safety issues with their Harleys to NHTSA. These complaints help the agency investigate possible defects that can lead to a recall and keep the streets safe for all motorists.

It’s always a good idea to regularly check for recalls to make sure that your Harley is safe for the road.

Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Negligent Drivers

The motorcycle attorneys at the Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers know that biker error is not to blame for the majority of motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle accidents that aren’t caused by motorcycle defects are usually caused by drivers who aren’t paying attention to the road or who are driving aggressively. Many drivers are biased against bikers, especially Harley-Davidson bikers. This anti-motorcycle prejudice has been linked to popular culture portraying bikers as rebels and outlaws.

Insurance companies often show their bias against motorcyclists by painting them as the at-fault party in an accident in an attempt to avoid paying out a large claim. The amount of an accident claim involving a Harley-Davidson motorcycle can be quite substantial considering the serious injuries that bikers often sustain and the cost of the bike itself. While the average Harley-Davidson motorcycle costs about $20,000, some models can cost $40,000 or more.

Insurance companies will try to convince a judge and jury that the motorcyclist should be held to a higher standard of care than a car or truck driver. Their experts may argue that the motorcyclist failed to slow down in time to avoid the accident, was traveling in the wrong part of the lane, or failed to wear bright clothing to increase visibility. Our motorcycle attorneys are not afraid to go head-to-head with big insurance companies and will negotiate on your behalf to get you the compensation that you deserve.

It’s always best to contact an attorney immediately after a motorcycle accident so that the attorney can start collecting evidence and building a case against all parties who could be responsible for your injuries. Depending on the facts of your case, an attorney may take the following actions:

  • Obtain police reports
  • Obtain witness statements
  • Photograph the accident scene
  • Look into the motorist’s driving record
  • Review medical records
  • Consult with experts who can recreate the accident and weigh in on the specific cause of the accident

Our motorcycle attorneys are knowledgeable about Massachusetts motorcycle laws, which are different from those that pertain to car accidents.

We can also bring a claim against a government entity if a defect on a public road caused or contributed to your motorcycle accident. Some examples of roadway defects include potholes, areas of standing water, malfunctioning traffic lights and poorly designed roads and ramps.

To learn more about how our attorneys can help you with a Harley-Davidson defect or motorcycle accident claim, contact Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers today at (617) 777-7777 or use our online form.

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