Colorado Supreme Court - 741 P.2d 1240
The Supreme Court reversed and remanded a case where the Court of Appeals dismissed claims against Honda for a defective motorcycle design. The absence of leg protection devices could render a motorcycle a defective and unreasonably dangerous product under the "crash-worthiness" doctrine in Colorado. Motorcycle manufacturers may be held liable for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident if a manufacturing or design defect caused or enhanced the injuries. The open and obvious nature of a product's dangers does not constitute a defense to a claim of unreasonably dangerous defect. Consumers have the right to expect that products in the stream of commerce are reasonably safe for their intended use, and a products liability action may be brought if a product is not reasonably safe. The determination of whether a product is reasonably safe depends on various circumstances and factors.
The passage discusses the use of the "consumer expectation test" to determine if a product is unreasonably dangerous in design defect cases. This test has been adopted by different jurisdictions, including Colorado courts in strict liability cases. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that simply having a feasible alternative to make the product safer does not make a company liable. In a specific case involving a motorcycle accident, the consumer expectation test was used, as it is expected that motorcycles are inherently dangerous and consumers are aware of such danger. The plaintiff had the option to buy a motorcycle with more safety features, but chose not to, thus confirming the decisions of the trial court and court of appeals.
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