There are many reasons behind car accidents that can include driver error, distracted driving, speeding, drowsy driving, driving while intoxicated, and numerous traffic infractions. Another reason for car accidents is unintended acceleration. There have been documented cases of these accidents going back decades. In the 1970s, a public service campaign was developed to warn drivers of the risks associated with unintended acceleration. Unfortunately, many modern car owners are not aware of this potential car accident cause and continue to drive vehicles that may put them at risk for an accident from sudden unintended acceleration. For this reason, it is important that drivers understand what causes unintended acceleration and how a sudden increase in speed can lead to a serious auto collision. If you suffered injuries or losses as a result of an unintended acceleration, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 to help you better understand your legal rights.
What Is Sudden Unintended Acceleration?
Sudden unintended acceleration refers to incidents where a vehicle continues accelerating after being placed into park or neutral gear. These incidents typically startle and frighten the driver who then slams on the brakes. Additionally, another common reason behind sudden unintended acceleration accidents is due to driver error such as confusion related to the gas and brake pedals.
Toyota Vehicles and Sudden Intended Acceleration
Many people believe that sudden unintended acceleration has been made famous by reports of Toyota vehicles in 2009 and 2010 where drivers reported experiencing this phenomenon while driving, most notably when entering or exiting highway traffic. However, there have been many documented cases of unexpected and unexplained acceleration since the late 1980s and early 1990s.
As the scrutiny intensified, Toyota Motor Company's CEO Akio Toyoda told Congress he wanted to “deeply apologize” to the owners of Toyota vehicles and their families for any accident they might have had related to vehicle malfunction.
Sudden Unintended Acceleration Prevalence
However, Toyota is not the only manufacturer that has reported cases of unintended acceleration. Nissan, Audi, Porsche, and Hyundai have had their share of sudden unintended acceleration problems. However, Toyota has received most of the media attention because they were sued by many plaintiffs who claimed to be affected by unintended acceleration.
Accidents Related to Sudden Unintended Acceleration
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 97 people are killed each year as a result of car accidents that involve sudden unintended acceleration. 1,105 people are injured each year as a result of sudden unintended acceleration.
Causes of Sudden Unintended Acceleration
While in some cases there may be a computer or technical malfunction of equipment, there are also other causes of sudden unintended acceleration.
Car Floor Mats
Adding multiple or bulky floor mats can make the mats entrap the accelerator pads resulting in sudden unintended acceleration and car accidents.
Debris on the Floor
Accumulation of debris on the driver's side floor can cause the floor to rise under the driver's feet. Like bulky and multiple mats, debris also can result in car accidents due to sudden unintended acceleration.
Mistaking Acceleration Pedal for Brake Pedal
As previously mentioned, mistake acceleration pedals for brakes. Instead of pressing the brake pedal, they put their foot on the acceleration pedal, making the vehicle go even faster instead of stopping and causing severe accidents.
Difficulty Reaching Floor Pedals
If a person has trouble reaching floor pedals because they are too close together or crowded by other items, this will not allow them enough room to comfortably place their foot on either brake pedal which can cause accidents from nothing more than neglecting foot placement.
Liability for Sudden Unintended Accelerated Accidents
If you suffered any injuries and losses as a result of a sudden unintended acceleration accident, consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You may be able to seek compensation if liability is determined and you can prove that your losses were a direct result of someone else's negligence or recklessness.
In most situations of sudden unintentional acceleration, the vehicle speeds out of control out of nowhere for no apparent reason which makes it difficult to determine the exact cause. In other cases, improper repairs to the acceleration system, floor mats that interfere with gas pedal operation, or faulty electronic throttle control are believed to be responsible.
Although some cases of sudden unintended acceleration can be explained by driver error (such as pressing the accelerator instead of the brake), other accidents caused by this phenomenon have been linked to a defective or malfunctioning electronic throttle control system.
Understanding the cause of the unintended accelerated accident can help you understand who has legal responsibility to compensate you for your injuries and losses.
Types of Compensation for Victims of Unintended Accelerated Accidents
The three types of compensation available are:
- Economic Losses - The first type of accident compensation is economic losses that can be documented through bills, receipts, or other evidence showing the cost incurred while treating the injuries sustained in the sudden unintended acceleration. These costs may include medical expenses, prescription medication, mileage for driving to doctor appointments, therapy sessions, and lost wages from not being able to work during recovery time.
- Non-Economic Losses - The second type of accident compensation is non-economic loss which includes pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and the loss of enjoyment in life. These types of losses are the most difficult to measure and in many cases recover.
- Emotional Distress - Emotional distress can be a recoverable accident compensation when it is the direct result of an injury sustained in an accident for which another party or parties are at fault.
The Role of an Attorney in Obtaining Accident Compensation
Experienced personal injury lawyers consider all possible avenues for settlement and make sure their clients receive full and fair compensation for their losses, including medical expenses, loss of income, car repairs, housekeeping services, psychiatric care, and more.
Additionally, attorneys are knowledgeable about insurance providers and their tactics. They work to ensure that clients receive as much compensation as possible based on the facts of their case and the amount allowed by law.
Ultimately, a personal injury lawyer is an advocate for his or her client and can provide guidance throughout the entire claims process. An attorney will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, answer any questions you may have about the process, and support you through each step of this difficult time.
If you are interested in learning more about your legal right to receive compensation after your sudden unintended acceleration car accident, contact the experienced attorney at Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 today.