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What Is Sudden Acceleration?

October 31, 2023Car Accidents,Personal Injury

Every motorist trusts their vehicle to function as expected. But what happens when the very mechanism you rely on betrays that trust? Mechanical defects in vehicles are not just inconveniences; they pose real dangers on the road. Among these hazards, one of the most alarming is sudden unintended acceleration (SUA).

The Risks of Sudden Unintended Acceleration

SUA refers to the unexpected and uncontrollable speeding up of a vehicle without any driver intervention. This phenomenon can compromise the braking system, preventing the driver from slowing down or halting the car—even if it’s in gear. This inability to control the vehicle’s speed drastically increases the risk of a severe collision, endangering both the driver and other road users.

Causes of Sudden Acceleration

Several factors could trigger sudden acceleration, including:

  • Pedal Misapplication: This occurs when a driver mistakenly presses the accelerator instead of the brake. These errors can be exacerbated by factors like the pedals’ proximity to one another or if the accelerator pedal is disproportionately large.
  • Unresponsive Pedals: Sometimes, pedals may become stuck, rendering them unresponsive when a driver tries to slow down or stop.
  • Electronic Throttle Control Failure: Modern vehicles often employ electronic systems to control acceleration. A malfunction in these systems can lead to SUA.
  • Stuck Throttle: In some cases, the throttle might become stuck in a position that causes acceleration, regardless of pedal positioning.
  • Shorting of Tin Whiskers: Electrical short circuits resulting from the growth of tin whiskers can contribute to SUA.

Seeking Compensation After a Sudden Acceleration Accident

In Washington state, if you’ve been involved in a car accident and suspect that SUA is the cause, you have the legal right to pursue a claim against the auto part manufacturer in court. If the sudden acceleration occurred due to a defect in the car’s design, manufacturing, or warnings and instructions, you have legal grounds to file a product liability lawsuit.

By proving the defect and establishing its role in the incident, you could be eligible for compensation covering medical bills, property damages, lost wages, and other related losses. However, to successfully navigate these complex claims, you’d need robust evidence like medical records, surveillance footage, witness accounts, and expert testimonials, especially from those familiar with vehicle manufacturing.

What to Do If You Experience Sudden Acceleration 

If you experience SUA on the road, it is important to remain calm. The following steps could help mitigate the issue and possibly prevent a dangerous collision:

  • Release the pedal immediately.
  • Firmly press and hold the brakes.
  • If possible, shift the car to neutral.

Even when you take these steps, accidents can still occur due to sudden acceleration. In these situations, a Redmond car accident attorney can help you seek justice. Product liability claims can be highly complex, especially when they involve motor vehicles, and a lawyer can connect you with the resources, knowledge, and support that you need to navigate your lawsuit.

After your collision, call 911 to report the crash to law enforcement and seek emergency medical care as soon as you can. Once you have tended to your medical needs, contact a Redmond personal injury attorney for a free consultation and begin your legal journey.