As a rider, you appreciate the detailed work that motorcycle manufacturers like Harley-Davidson put into their products. But sometimes mistakes happen, and these mistakes can put you in danger.

In 2013, there were 15 separate motorcycle recalls. These recalls were issued for a variety of reasons including problems with rear suspension, antilock brakes, and the hydraulic clutch. Some of these problems had the potential to cause a serious accident.

How do I learn if my motorcycle has been recalled?

When you buy your bike, make sure you register it with the manufacturer. Make sure that you update your address if you move. You can also ask your mechanic about recalls or look up your vehicle on Knowing about recalls will help you ride safe.

What happens during a motorcycle recall?

There are two reasons for motorcycle recalls: manufacturing defects and design defects.

A manufacturing defect occurs when the motorcycle or a part of the motorcycle was manufactured incorrectly. This can occur when a substandard material is used or when a part is installed incorrectly. These mistakes can occur at the factory where a motorcycle part was manufactured, at the plant where the motorcycle is assembled, during shipping, or even at the dealership.

A design defect occurs when a motorcycle or motorcycle part has an inherently dangerous design that has the potential to cause an accident or injury.

When a defect is identified, the manufacturer must alert the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and initiate a safety recall. When the recall is announced, the manufacturer must notify motorcycle owners and provide a remedy for the unsafe condition. In most cases, the motorcycle owner is entitled to a repair or replacement part.

What should I do if a recalled part caused my motorcycle accident?

If you believe a recalled or defective part caused your motorcycle accident, you should take steps to protect your case.

  • Write down everything you remember about the accident. Described what happened, the time and place that the accident occurred, the weather conditions, and any other detail that you can think of. If possible, photograph the scene.
  • Document your injuries. Your medical records will provide some documentation of your injuries, but they don’t show how your injuries affect your life. Keep a diary that tells how your injuries affect your ability to work, sleep, enjoy hobbies, and interact with others. Include pictures of your injuries.
  • Document your property damage. Take pictures of the damage to your motorcycle.
  • Keep track of your conversations with the insurance company. Write down the date, time, the name of the representative, and a summary of your conversation.
  • Make a copy of any recall notices you have received.
  • Contact an attorney with experience in motorcycle accident cases. The attorney will be able to determine the cause of the accident and help you get compensation from the responsible party.

Hupy and Abraham is on your side. Our attorneys have been representing motorcyclists in Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois for over 50 years. Call us at 800-800-5678 to find out how we can use our experience to help you.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.