Modified: January 20, 2023

How to Deal with Unintended, Sudden Acceleration – Causes and Solutions

For decades, drivers have lodged complaints about sudden unintended acceleration in their vehicles with the auto manufacturers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unfortunately, the government agency continues to ignore the possibility of intermittent and other faults and blames sudden unintended acceleration incidents on the drivers.

Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys have more than a decade of experience handling car accidents. We’ve encountered unintended sudden acceleration cases over the years, some involving driver error while others point fingers at the manufacturer’s defect. 

Let’s look at some of the causes of unintended sudden acceleration and how to deal with unintended, sudden acceleration.

Sudden Unintended Acceleration Incidents That Led to Deaths

In February 2007, Bulent and Anne Ezal were heading to lunch in their 2005 Toyota Camry at Pelican Point Restaurant in California, which offers fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean. When Ezal arrived at the parking lot of the restaurant, he applied the brakes and came to a halt, but his vehicle suddenly jolted forward and fell down the cliff onto the rocks below, leading to the death of Anne Ezal.

In the same year, two friends, Jean Bookout and Barbara Schwarz, were driving a 2005 Toyota Camry and exited Interstate Highway 69. As Bookout sped down the exit, she realized she could not cause the vehicle to slow down or stop. She pulled on the parking brake, leaving skid marks behind, but the vehicle didn’t slow down and eventually crashed. The car accident led to the death of Barbara Schwarz and caused severe injuries to Bookout.

The sudden acceleration incidents made headlines, but the NHTSA refused to investigate the matter, stating that the Toyota Camry incidents had nothing to do with the manufacturer.

Since 1999, many car owners have reported many sudden unintended acceleration problems in vehicles, but none of the auto manufacturers have accepted liability. Instead, the manufacturers blamed the sudden unintended acceleration incidents on driver error.

In the 2003 book “Sudden Acceleration,” by Carl E. Nash, the author blames the auto manufacturers for their ignorance pertaining to how electronic systems work and how they can fail. Nash also takes a jab at NHTSA, stating that the government agency failed to find the real cause of the sudden unintended acceleration cases besides driver error and floor mats.

Causes of Sudden Unintended Acceleration in Vehicles

There are several causes of sudden unintended acceleration, including the following.

Driver Error

In a podcast titled “Blame Game with Malcolm Gladwell” by Malcolm Timothy Gladwell, an English-born Canadian journalist, Gladwell explores a possible cause of sudden unintended acceleration. He explained how he interviewed experts on the topic, and many believed that the sudden unintended acceleration could be a driver error. 

People can mistake the gas pedal for the brake pedal, and instead of braking, they end up accelerating, leading them to believe it is a sudden unintended acceleration. 

According to the NHTSA, there are 16,000 accidents yearly in the United States where drivers floor the acceleration pedal rather than brakes to avoid a collision.

An Electrical or Mechanical Problem

A mechanical failure in the brake or acceleration pedal can affect the pedal’s operations, causing the vehicle to accelerate. Electronic control systems can also fail, which may lead to sudden unintended acceleration.

Design Flaws

In some Toyota vehicles, a design defect caused the accelerator pedal to get stuck under the floor mat when pushed too hard.

Common Injuries From Sudden Acceleration or Pedal Entrapment

Floor mat interference and gas pedal interference it can cause can lead to medical expenses and funeral costs you and your loved ones never expected, including:

  • Emotional distress
  • Brain injury
  • Spine injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Coma
  • Wrongul death.

Common Economic and General Damages Caused by Sudden, Unintended Acceleration?

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills, etc.

An experienced attorney at our firm will not only help you recover money. We will hold your hand and provide compassion in all personal injury cases we take.

How to Prevent Sudden Unintended Acceleration in Modern Cars

There are a few things you can do to stop sudden unintended acceleration and prevent a car accident from happening.

These may include the following:

  • If your vehicle accelerates, release the pedal, as you could be pressing the wrong one.
  • Press the brakes and hold steady, as the brakes will eventually win. During an unintended acceleration event, avoid pumping the brake pedal as it can lead to loss of braking power or breaking ineffectiveness.
  • It is best to shift into neutral to avoid if the car has an automatic transmission.
  • Replace your floor mats with good-quality car mat clips.

Don’t rule out a problem with the cruise control. There are many things that can cause your car to lurch forward, according to safety research and engineering analysis. Even after taking the right precautions, if you still end up in a car accident due to unintended sudden acceleration, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options and conduct a defects investigation. Sometimes it may take some media attention and a class action lawsuit, but we’ll get to the bottom of it.

How Can Ehline Law Help You With a Brake Pedal or Other Issue

If a car accident due to no fault of your own results in injuries, our experienced personal injury attorneys can help investigate the car accident, determine the liable parties, and hold them responsible for your vehicle malfunction loss.

Ehline Law is an award-winning law firm with the resources to pursue legal action against large corporations and insurance companies that often bully victims or coerce them into taking a low settlement offer over their runaway car.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law

Your natural reaction is probably to try and resolve your case on your own with Ford Motor Company or another dealership. Maybe you have one of the Lexus models with this known stuck throttle problem and are being told it was faulty floor mats? Confused over the bulky floormats argument when your car accelerates? Are you looking for award-winning, world-class sudden acceleration lawyers with a proven track record of success winning clients millions?

You came to the right place when you or a loved one is forced to experience sudden, unintended acceleration with a runaway vehicle. If you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident due to another’s negligence, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be eligible for compensation for such high-power accelerations with help from a highly rated car crash lawyer in Los Angeles.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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Los Angeles, CA 90071
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