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The Francis Law Group


 Unintended Acceleration Can Cause Serious Car Accidents

Sudden, unintended acceleration (SUI), the malfunction that occurs when a car surges or rapidly accelerates for no reason, sounds like a frightening event from a movie scene. But SUI is real. Hundreds of drivers have filed complaints related to a vehicle defect that cause them to accelerate suddenly and unintentionally. When this happens, injuries, property damage and fatalities are common results.

Causes for Unintended Acceleration 

Obviously, a vehicle should never unintentionally accelerate. It only does so when a component is defective or there is a design flaw. Drivers report that when the car begins to accelerate suddenly, braking and steering are ineffective. Sometimes this occurs when the car is at a stop, and the engine begins to rev, and in other cases, the car will begin to accelerate suddenly when the car is already in motion. Below are several scenarios that have been identified as potential causes of SUI.

  • The floor mats are incompatible with the gas pedal.
  • The gas pedal is defective in design or function and becomes stuck.
  • The brake pedal does not engage until it’s pushed far below the throttle.

When an automaker becomes aware that their vehicles have a defective part such as a floor mat, gas pedal or brake pedal, it’s their legal duty to report it to the government, inform consumers and remedy the issue. If they fail to uphold that duty, they put innocent people’s lives in danger, not to mention subject themselves to criminal and civil penalties.

Unintended acceleration Can Be Deadly

The problem of SUI in vehicles – specifically certain Toyota and Lexus models – became public in 2009 after a family of four was killed when their Lexus ES350 began to accelerate without warning. The gas pedal became stuck on an incompatible floor mat, and braking was not effective. The driver of that car, Highway Patrolman Mark Saylor, “was able to call 911 while his car was speeding over 100 miles per hour and explain his harrowing ordeal right up until the crash that ended his life,” reports ABC News.

Hundreds of similar reports were made in the following months. Toyota announced recalls and tried to reassure the public that the issue was taken care of. However, after a government investigation, it became clear that the manufacturer concealed safety issues and knowingly excluded some defective and dangerous vehicles in the recall. Furthermore, they continued manufacturing vehicles with the same defective design, knowing it could lead to injuries and fatalities.

After the FBI investigation, Toyota admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine to avoid prosecution for covering up serious unintentional acceleration safety problems and for continuing to manufacture defective cars that the FBI said Toyota “knew were deadly.”

Toyota isn’t the only manufacturer that has released defective cars that have high SUI risks. And because of incomplete Toyota recalls, there are potentially other defective cars that have yet to be recalled. If you suspect there is an issue with your car, you’ll want to call the manufacturer and report it to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (safercar.gov).

When an Accident Occurs Due to Defective Vehicles

When someone is hurt or killed in a crash that was caused by a defect, the victim (or his or her family) has the right to sue the manufacturer. There is a wide range of damages you may be able to recover. You will want to speak to a defective auto liability attorney about your case.

For help from an attorney that handles these specific types of cases, contact Francis Law Group in Orlando. Call the office today at 407-363-9939 and schedule a free consultation or contact us online.