Jury Denies Sports Helmet Product Liability Lawsuit

a motocross crash three years ago in Gorman, California. The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated about five hours before finding in favor of helmet manufacturer KBC America Inc. of Burbank and retailer Valencia Sport Group Inc., where the headgear was purchased. Plaintiff’s counsel had asked for $18 million in damages, most of it for the future lifetime care of their 20-year-old son. During closing arguments in the trial, Plaintiff’s counsel said the young man needs constant attention and has a life expectancy of at least 40 more years.

But Defense counsel said the rider’s negligence caused his injuries, not the head gear he was wearing while on a practice run at what is now known as the Quail Canyon motocross track. He was traveling 20 to 30 mph when he was hurled over the handlebars and his bike landed on top of him, causing his helmet to crack, according to the suit filed a year after the crash. His parents maintained the plastic SixSixOne Flight model was defective and that KBC gave insufficient label warnings concerning its protection capabilities. While a stronger material like carbon fiber could have made a difference, KBC used plastic because it was less expensive.

However, counsel for the Defendants said the helmet met or exceeded all U.S. government requirements and that it was designed to crack to absorb the impact in the event of a crash such as the one that injured the plaintiff. During the trial, the Plaintiff’s mother testified that she had to help her son in almost every aspect of his life, including getting him out of bed, feeding him, taking him for his shower and giving him his medicine. Her son had ridden safely for 11 years before the accident, she said.

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