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What Is Sudden Unintended Acceleration?

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What Do You Need to Know About Sudden Unintended Acceleration?

Driving can present many hazards, and drivers must pay careful attention to road conditions, fellow motorists, and the proper handling of their car to provide themselves with the best chance of a safe trip. While most people are familiar with the dangers presented by negligent drivers, they may be less aware of potential faults within their own vehicles that can lead to frightening crashes and severe injuries. One dangerous type of automotive malfunction is known as sudden unintended acceleration (SUA).

When SUA occurs, the vehicle will accelerate in an uncontrolled or unexpected way. Some victims have also reported that the SUA was accompanied by brake failure, leaving them no way to control their speeding car. SUA can result in rollovers, crashes, and life-changing injuries. The terrifying experience can leave victims traumatized and afraid to drive again.

If you have been hurt by the sudden unintended acceleration of your vehicle, you may be entitled to recover compensation depending on the circumstances of your case. Contact our law firm and ask to schedule a free no-obligation consultation immediately so that we may answer your questions.

How Does Sudden Unintended Acceleration Occur?

The origins of the sudden unintended acceleration can vary from case to case. In 2010, Toyota recalled over eight million vehicles after many highly publicized instances of SUA affecting drivers. The company also settled with plaintiffs on more than 500 claims of severe injury or death caused by SUA.

However, even after extensive investigations by the NHTSA and the vehicle manufacturer, it is not entirely clear what caused all of these dangerous situations. In some cases, the NHTSA discovered that badly designed floor mats could come loose and trap the accelerator pedal, causing a rapid increase in speed. As part of their recall, Toyota replaced vehicles’ accelerator pedals with newly designed models, which were less likely to be entangled by the floor mat.

Other proposed potential causes of unintended acceleration include:

  • Poorly designed brake and accelerator pedals which can cause driver confusion and error.
  • Glitches in vehicle software or electronics that could affect anticipated performance and control.
  • Faulty or sticking throttle linkages or plates.
  • Debris near pedals, which can interfere with their function.
  • Transmission malfunctions.

What Can You Do if You Experience Sudden Unintended Acceleration?

Any vehicle malfunction, particularly when traveling at speed, can be frightening. When SUA occurs, many motorists panic, which can worsen the situation. Remaining calm and assessing the situation can be vital to successfully addressing the problem. To attempt to regain control of your vehicle and avoid an accident, take the following actions:

  • Do not shut off the engine; doing so will remove your ability to control your vehicle’s steering and braking systems.
  • Remove your foot from the gas pedal and press down hard on the brake pedal. Be sure not to pump your brakes, as this could cause your vehicle to lose stability and be involved in a rollover accident.
  • If driving an automatic vehicle, move the gearshift to the neutral position. Depress the clutch pedal and attempt to downshift if driving a manual transmission. This will help slow your car’s speed.
  • If your car is not slowing down, gently engage the emergency brake.
  • Keep moving as straight ahead as you can and avoid making sudden or jerky movements with the steering wheel to maintain control of your vehicle.
  • Once your vehicle starts to slow down, cautiously move it to a clear and safe area on the side of the road. Make sure to shut off the engine and set the parking brake.

Once you have reached a safe location, do not attempt to drive the vehicle again. Contact a knowledgeable mechanic for an inspection. If you believe your SUA was due to a fault in your car, contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer as soon as possible for a free case evaluation to discover your legal options.

Can You File a Lawsuit Against a Car Manufacturer For Sudden Unintended Acceleration?

If it can be demonstrated that SUA resulted from a defective vehicle part, you may be entitled to file a product liability lawsuit against the car manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the defective part. With a lawsuit, you could recover compensation for damages resulting from the SUA, including medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle replacement or repair, and pain and suffering. Sadly, some drivers who experience SUA do not survive the experience. If you have lost a loved one due to an accident caused by a defective vehicle, you have the right to bring a wrongful death claim against the liable parties.

However, keep in mind that product liability claims can be quite complex as they often require a great deal of research and investigation to determine the cause and extent of the defect. Promptly seeking the help of an experienced law firm is key to building the strongest possible claim.

How Can a Personal Injury Law Firm Help You?

While SUA has not recently made headlines as it did in the past, it is still an issue that can occur. Survivors of SUA can suffer life-changing injuries and mental distress from the traumatic incident. Car manufacturers have a track record of dismissing victims’ experiences with SUA as “driver error” and have even actively covered up evidence of known problems with their vehicles.

Khan Injury Law is passionately committed to assisting all injury victims in obtaining full and fair compensation. Once we agree to take your case, we will immediately begin a full investigation into the cause of the accident. Whether your car experienced SUA or you were involved in an accident because another vehicle experienced these same phenomena, the responsible parties should be held liable for their negligence or failure to provide a safe product.

Contact our law firm today at (206) 430-6096 and ask to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case and discover your legal rights.

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