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What Is Sudden Unintended Acceleration?

Colburn Law

Sudden Unintended Acceleration

Car accidents can happen for several reasons. In many cases, negligent driving behavior is responsible for these collisions. In other cases, however, dangerous and defective auto parts contribute to car accidents. One type of defect, known as sudden unintended acceleration, is extremely dangerous and can lead to serious crashes.

Sudden Unintended Acceleration: A Dangerous Risk

Sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) occurs when a vehicle suddenly begins to accelerate in speed without a driver’s control. SUA happens when an electronic malfunction occurs inside of the vehicle, causing the throttle to expand and the vehicle to accelerate without the driver’s intervention.

Aside from unexpected acceleration, SUA can also prevent drivers from braking or returning the vehicle to idle if it is in gear. As a result, the driver does not have control over the vehicle, making it difficult to stop the car once it starts to speed up. If the driver loses control of his or her car, a catastrophic and severe collision can occur.

Legal Options for SUA Victims

If you are in a car accident and believe that SUA caused the collision, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective auto part. You can recover compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and other losses through this claim. To prove your right to compensation, you will need to prove four key elements.

  • You suffered an injury or losses in the car accident.
  • The vehicle part is defective in some way.
  • The vehicle defect caused your accident and injuries.
  • You were using the vehicle as the manufacturer intended.

You will need to gather sufficient evidence to prove these elements, such as surveillance footage, medical records, and witness testimony. You may also need the help of vehicle manufacturing experts to prove the defect. A Washington product liability attorney can contact relevant expert witnesses who can testify in your case, helping you establish the more complex and technical details related to your claim.

What to Do If You Experience Sudden Unintended Acceleration

When SUA occurs, it can be a very scary experience. However, SUA is a survivable situation—but it is important to remain calm and act quickly to stay safe. As a precaution, always keep the area around the driver’s feet clear of all objects. If you have a floor mat, ensure that it is not directly under or over the pedals.

As soon as you realize your vehicle is accelerating out of control, take the following steps to regain control.

  • Do not shut off the engine. When you turn off the vehicle, you lose control over the brakes and steering mechanism, which you need to move your vehicle off the road.
  • Move your foot to the brake pedal—not the gas pedal—and press down as hard as you can. Do not pump the brake pedal; these actions could lead to a rollover accident. If your brakes have failed, you can gently apply the emergency brake to slow the vehicle.
  • Put your transmission in neutral or depress the clutch pedal. This will stop the engine from moving the car forward. Avoid jerking your steering wheel or making any irregular movements while driving; this could lead to you losing control of the car.
  • Once the vehicle starts to slow down, move your vehicle to a safe area on the side of the road. Shut off the engine, set the parking brakes, and exit the vehicle.

If you are in an SUA accident, contact a Seattle product liability attorney as soon as possible. Your Seattle personal injury attorney will provide you with the resources, knowledge, and experience you need to hold the manufacturer accountable for your injuries.