When should you confer with a product liability expert witness? Product failure may be due to a mechanical breakdown, design defect, improper maintenance or other factors. It is often necessary to consult with an experienced product liability expert to determine how an accident occurred and who or what was at fault.
On February 7, 2019, a Seattle jury found Ride the Ducks liable in a 2015 Aurora Bridge crash. Duck Boat number six crossed the center line on the bridge and struck a tour bus. The accident took the lives of five North Seattle College students and more than 60 others were injured. Investigators determined the Duck Boat’s left front axle snapped. Ride the Ducks Seattle was held liable for 30-33% and Ride the Ducks International was held liable for 67-70% of the $123M award.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers described the WWII era Ride the Ducks vehicles as having improper maintenance and safety. The victims’ legal team presented documents to the court showing that the Seattle Ride the Ducks vehicle involved in the September 2015 deadly crash had previously hit the Aurora Bridge three times in two months. The NTSB.com accident report states:
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Seattle, Washington, crash was the mechanical failure, due to improper manufacturing by Ride the Ducks International (vehicle manufacturer) and inadequate maintenance by Ride the Ducks of Seattle (operator), of the left front axle housing of the stretch amphibious passenger vehicle (APV) DUCK 6, which resulted in loss of vehicle control. Contributing to the severity of the motorcoach occupant injuries was the APV’s structural incompatibility with the motorcoach, causing intrusion into the motorcoach sidewall, windows, and interior passenger compartment. Contributing to the severity of the APV passenger injuries were the lack of occupant crash protections and the high impact forces.
The cause of an accident can be very difficult to determine. Jurors in this lawsuit heard four months of testimony from victims and product liability experts. Product liability experts analyze whether the manufacturer was liable or if the product was not properly maintained. Sorting through these technical issues requires experts with knowledge and experience of the product in question. They must also be qualified to weigh out the facts of the case and provide objective testimony. Contact ForensisGroup to be connected with a highly qualified expert witness who fits the fact pattern in your case.