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Brain injury lawsuit reaches jury; is Harley-Davidson at fault?

A California jury is deciding a case involving a motorcycle crash and its aftermath. A couple crashed their Harley-Davidson touring bike on a California freeway in April 2008. The husband, who was at the controls of the motorcycle, slammed on his brakes when traffic suddenly backed up. The rear wheel locked and sent his wife flying 35 feet forward.

The woman suffered fractures to her skull, face and ribs; constant pain and a permanent brain injury will prevent her from being able to work in the future. The couple filed suit because they say they were told the motorcycle was equipped with an antilock braking system (ABS). The bike's tachometer does have an ABS logo on it, but the motorcycle maker contends that the logo is on all its bikes, and that its presence didn't mean that particular bike had ABS.

Regardless of the outcome of the case, the injured woman will be affected for life. The woman, now 50, can no longer remember the names of her children, and her attorney said she will be affected to the tune of $2.6 million in lifetime economic damages as a result of the crash.

For its part, Harley-Davidson says that having different tachometers for motorcycles that had the ABS system and those that didn't would have been cost-prohibitive. The bike maker says that because the ABS light doesn't illuminate when a bike without the feature is started, anyone should know that it isn't equipped with ABS.

When a catastrophic brain injury occurs as a result of an accident, the lives of many people, not just the injured party, are affected. A qualified attorney can represent those whose lives have been changed to help them seek the compensation they will need to deal with their new reality.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Contentious motorcycle crash case heads to Sacramento jury," Andy Furillo, Dec. 16, 2011

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