Cars and trucks are made up of a variety of essential parts, one of which is the gas pedal. The gas pedal allows you to accelerate and move your vehicle down the road and without it, there would be practically no use for your vehicle. While this is an extremely important part of the car, however, it can also be the source of accidents if it malfunctions unexpectedly. Defects in gas pedals often result in serious crashes and injuries.
You may not be aware of the prevalence of defective gas pedals over the years. Even in recent years, Toyota issued a massive recall1 because the gas pedals in many of its vehicles were malfunctioning, causing unintended acceleration and causing collisions and injuries. Due to those defects, many people suffered devastating injuries in accidents. Injured victims sought recovery from Toyota for their medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. Family members of victims who did not survive also sought recovery for wrongful death from the auto manufacturer.
Common Types of Malfunctions
Toyota is not the only company to have issued vehicles on the market with defective gas pedals. Some other examples of ways that gas pedals can malfunction include the following:
- The pedal sticking down to the ground;
- Pedals that are made from weak materials and that crack, bend, or break;
- Unintentional and uncontrollable acceleration;
- Electrical or wiring malfunctions.
Any of the above malfunctions can be terrifying, as a driver will likely lose control of the vehicle and may not know how to stop the vehicle. If you are driving in heavy traffic or on the highway, a gas pedal malfunction can cause multiple car collisions before you are able to bring your car to a stop. You should be aware that if your gas pedal sticks or begins accelerating beyond your control, you should firmly press and hold the brake, attempt to push the car into neutral, and try to steer out of traffic while you come to a stop. However, these actions require calmness and clear thinking, neither of which many drivers have when their gas pedal suddenly malfunctions. Most drivers have the instinct to panic, which is understandable and may result in serious crashes.
Seeking Recovery after an Accident
Companies that manufacture cars are major operations that sell vehicles all over the world. If a part – such as a gas pedal – is defective, the effects can be wide-reaching. For this reason, companies have the duty to make sure that their vehicles are safe, as well as the individual parts on a vehicle. If a manufacturer fails to ensure the safety of certain parts or vehicles, the company should be liable for any injuries or losses that result under the legal theory of products liability.2
In addition, if a manufacturer learns of a possible gas pedal problem that can or has already caused injuries, the company should issue a proper recall to notify consumers of the problem and offer to repair or replace the part at no cost. Some companies have learned of problems with their vehicles and have opted to conceal the issue for some time before issuing a recall. This is a very serious situation as companies are knowingly putting consumers at risk of injury. In these instances, a company’s liability should increase for the injuries and losses of accident victims.
If you have been in an accident due to a faulty gas pedal or another car part, you have to prove the company was negligent in one of the following ways in order to recover:
- The company’s design for the gas pedal was defective;
- The company’s procedure for assembling the gas pedals was defective;
- The company was aware of potential risks of a gas pedal and did not properly issue warnings to drivers.
Determining when the negligence occurred in the manufacturing process can be technical and complicated and often requires the opinion of an automotive industry expert. It may be easier if a recall has already been issued or if others have experienced the same problem, as the root of the defect may already be public knowledge.
In either situation, it is essential to have an experienced products liability attorney handling your case who can help you recover for the following and more:
- Costs of medical care;
- Lost income;
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Punitive damages;
- Wrongful death.
Contact a New Port Richey Auto Accident Lawyer Today
Whether your accident was caused by a faulty car part or by another driver, please do not hesitate to call the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in New Port Richey for help. Contact us at 727-853-6275 for a free consultation with our auto accident attorneys.
DOLMAN LAW GROUP – NEW PORT RICHEY OFFICE
New Port Richey, FL 34652