Sudden Unintended Acceleration And Car Accidents

Sudden Unintended Acceleration And Car Accidents

Driving often presents several hazards, such as road conditions and negligent drivers, but they can also come from vehicle faults, potentially resulting in severe accidents or even fatalities. Sudden acceleration is one example of a particularly dangerous vehicle malfunction. Learn about sudden unintended acceleration (SUA), including how it causes car accidents, and discover how an experienced Mississippi vehicle accident attorney from Lott Law can help victims of these incidents; call our firm today at (228) 215-2787.

What Is Sudden Unintended Acceleration?

SUA is the inadvertent, uncontrolled, and unexpected acceleration of a motor vehicle, typically accompanied by a reduction in braking effectiveness. Various factors can cause sudden acceleration in vehicles, including electrical or mechanical vehicle malfunctions and human error. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 16,000 car accidents occur in the United States annually as a result of motorists trying to press the brake pedal but mistakenly applying the accelerator instead.

Causes of Sudden Unintended Acceleration

Per the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the main contributor to SUA accidents is when motorists use the wrong pedal. Another key cause relates to individuals finding it difficult to reach the floor pedals. However, SUA can also occur due to faults with the vehicle itself, with some examples outlined below:

  • Unresponsive or stuck pedals
  • Electrical faults
  • On-board computer glitches
  • Design flaws
  • Mechanical failures

Liabilities in Sudden Unintended Acceleration Cases

Multiple parties could be liable for SUA accidents, making these cases highly complex. Below are examples of the possible liable parties:

  • Vehicle manufacturers might be responsible for unintended acceleration if the accident occurred due to design defects, inadequate testing, or manufacturing flaws.
  • Parts manufacturers could be liable if the sudden acceleration arose due to faulty components, like defective sensors or pedals.
  • Repair and maintenance shops might be accountable for an SUA accident if improper maintenance or repairs led to this incident.
  • A rental company may be liable if one of its vehicles contributed to the incident and the vehicle had known issues that the company failed to address, or if the company failed to correctly and frequently maintain the vehicle.
  • The driver could be the responsible party if the SUA accident resulted from pedal misapplication; that said, if the driver misapplied the pedals due to a design flaw, the car manufacturer could still be liable.

Injuries in Sudden Unintended Acceleration Accidents

Sudden acceleration motor vehicle accidents can be serious and deadly, particularly if the acceleration results in a high-speed collision. In addition to the driver, the vehicle passengers, pedestrians, and those in other vehicles involved in the accident can sustain similar injuries. Here are some examples:

  • Emotional distress
  • Burn injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Coma
  • Death

Find out more about car accidents caused by sudden unintended acceleration, and explore the legal options available to SUA victims. Contact Lott Law today to arrange a consultation with a seasoned Mississippi personal injury lawyer.

Legal Recourse for SUA Victims

Unintended acceleration car accident victims have several legal options available for seeking compensation for their damages. For instance, they could file a product liability claim against the car manufacturer if a manufacturing defect caused the accident, or they could bring a negligence claim against a maintenance shop if the outlet’s negligence was a contributing factor. Alternatively, if someone dies in an SUA incident, the family members may initiate a wrongful death claim; a class action lawsuit could also be a possibility if a certain vehicle model had links to multiple sudden acceleration accidents.

In addition to lawsuits, other avenues for recuperating losses are available. SUA victims may seek compensation via their insurance policies, for example, particularly if it is clear who the responsible party is.

Types of Compensation for Victims of Unintended Accelerated Accidents

Three main compensation types are potentially available for victims of unintended acceleration accidents. These are as follows.

Economic Losses

These losses are typically demonstrated through documentation, like receipts or bills, proving the costs incurred for treating any injuries sustained during an SUA incident. Example costs include prescription medication, medical expenses, transportation costs for doctor appointments, counseling or therapy sessions, and lost wages during recovery.

Non-Economic Losses

This category of compensation relates to losses that are more challenging to measure. Some examples are pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, and loss of consortium.

Emotional Distress

In terms of SUA accidents, emotional distress concerns a person’s mental suffering as a result of remembering the vehicle accident. This can discourage the individual from driving again and lead to other symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and physical illness. If the emotional distress is directly linked to the SUA accident, it could be possible to recover compensation for this damage.

What To Do if You Experience Sudden Unintended Acceleration

If involved in an SUA-related vehicle accident, stay calm and start to assess the situation. To try and regain vehicle control and prevent a collision, follow these steps:

  • Keep the engine running, as this ensures the driver can still control the vehicle’s brakes and steering.
  • Stop pressing the accelerator and apply the brakes hard, but avoid pumping the brakes since this can lead to the vehicle losing stability and potentially rolling over.
  • For automatic cars, put the vehicle in neutral, and for manual vehicles, press the clutch pedal and try to shift down a gear; doing this helps reduce the vehicle’s speed.
  • Apply the emergency brake gently if the vehicle fails to decelerate.
  • Keep the vehicle as straight as possible without making sudden steering wheel movements.
  • Once the vehicle slows, reach a secure location, turn the engine off, apply the parking brake, and do not operate the vehicle again.
  • Ask an experienced mechanic to inspect the vehicle for faults.

Contact a Mississippi Vehicle Accident Attorney Today

SUA is less of an issue in recent times due to improved vehicle manufacturing and safety practices, but it can still occur. Victims of sudden acceleration car accidents can sustain permanent injuries and experience mental distress due to these traumatic events, and if the incident took place due to someone else’s error, victims may wish to consider legal advice to attempt to gain compensation for their damages. Gain a more detailed understanding of sudden unintended acceleration and its link to car accidents, and learn how a Mississippi vehicle accident attorney from Lott Law can help individuals looking to bring an SUA claim; call our legal team today at (228) 215-2787.