Motorcyclist ‘will never walk again’ after brakes failed, lawyers say. Now he wins $20M

A man riding a Suzuki motorcycle tried braking when a vehicle merged in front of him at a Florida intersection, but his front brakes failed to slow him down, according to his attorneys.

The experienced motorcyclist, Scott Winckler, crashed into the SUV in Jacksonville on June 16, 2013 — and was left permanently paralyzed below his waist, documents filed in Florida’s 4th Judicial Circuit court say.

Winckler sued Suzuki Motor Corporation, arguing his 2007 Suzuki GSX R-1000 motorcycle had a defective front braking system, and the case went to trial. Suzuki never warned that the model’s brakes could fail but knew of the motorcycle’s defects before Winckler’s accident, according to his lawsuit.

Nearly 11 years later, a Duval County jury awarded Winckler $20 million on April 10 for his injuries, according to a news release from Morgan & Morgan, the law firm representing him.

“Before the crash, Mr. Winckler was an active, independent person and an avid motorcycle enthusiast. … Now he will never walk again, let alone ride,” said Morgan & Morgan attorneys Mike Morgan, Joshua Moore, Keith Mitnik and Harris Yegelwel.

Winckler “has been fighting for justice for over ten years, during which Suzuki relentlessly tried to blame him for his injuries,” the attorneys said in a statement.

Suzuki and attorneys representing the company didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from McClatchy News on April 12.

Suzuki denied that Winckler’s motorcycle was defective and argued that his “front brake master cylinder was fully functional and did not cause the crash,” court documents show.

According to Winckler’s legal counsel, the front brake cylinder’s brake piston had corroded, causing the brakes to fail. Specifically, it resulted in “a reduction of fluid pressure transmission and reduced the motorcycle’s braking power,” Morgan & Morgan said in the release.

Suzuki issues a recall after the crash

In 2007, an issue with the same Suzuki motorcycle model in Germany alerted the company to the brake systems’ defects, but no recall was issued, according to Winckler’s counsel.

In 2012, a motorcyclist crashed their Suzuki due to the vehicle’s loss of front braking power, Morgan & Morgan said.

Suzuki didn’t recall its motorcycle models until a few months after Winckler’s crash, a notice issued by the company in October 2013 shows.

The recall notice warned of an increased crash risk related to the front brake master cylinder of Suzuki motorcycle models GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 from 2004 to 2013, and the GSX-R1000 models from 2005 to 2013 — including Winckler’s from 2007.

The $20 million awarded to Winckler is for prior medical expenses, future medical expenses, and pain and suffering, according to Morgan & Morgan.

“We’re pleased that the jury saw the pain he’s experienced and vindicated him by awarding him every penny that he deserves,” his attorneys said.

Beach house left leaning on neighbors’ homes after Florida storm. Now they’re suing

Toddler was able to start ‘defective’ Tesla and crashed into pregnant mom, lawsuit says

Man died after using kratom sold at smoke shop, attorneys say. Family suing for $10M