The Franecke Law Group handled the 1st wrongful death case involving the Toyota unwarranted acceleration cases in the country. Suit was not filed because Toyota, recognizing who was representing the plaintiffs, chose to immediately negotiate settlement.
However, before the settlement was reached, investigation and evaluation was done to determine the causes of the unwarranted accelerations. What was revealed in the investigation is not only reflective of defects and deficiencies in Toyota automobiles but also in other automobiles on the highways.
Investigation revealed that when the car unwarrantedly accelerated, there was no way to stop it by using breaks or even shifting out of gear. Toyota claims that you can stop their cars using your brakes even if it is full acceleration. This is false. Not only can you not stop the car with the brakes, but the brakes will fail if you pump the more than a few times. Also, in the case of pushbutton ignition’s, only a very obscure reference in the operating manual discloses that the ignition may be killed if you hold the button down for more than 4 seconds. Most drivers are not aware.
Investigation further revealed that the problem is not simply mechanical but also involves the computer systems utilized in the modern automobile. Many of the functions on modern automobiles are controlled by computers tied into the functioning of the cars engine, transmission, collision systems etc. These computers are subject to error and physical damage due to environmental factors and manufacturing defects.
Once the car accelerates you can’t stop it until there’s a collision. This is not acceptable in our modern society.
Manufacturers are under a duty and responsibility to carefully design and test their products before they sell them to the public in order to make sure they are safe for their intended use. Failure to do so is negligence and may produce a defective and unsafe product.
If you’re involved in an unwarranted acceleration case, do not let the automobile out of your possession and control. Insist that your insurance company sequestered the automobile and do not allow anyone to examine it without your permission. The automobile is owned by you not your insurance company. Even if the automobile is completely destroyed, it is still your vehicle until the insurance company pays you its fair market value.
Once the vehicle has been preserved, only allow it to be looked at after you have consulted with an attorney experienced and familiar with these types of cases. Experts in the field have the capability to download the information contained in the various computers on the vehicle in most cases. However, the manufacturers also program into their computers different levels which only they may be able to read. This is unfair and contains information vital to determine what and why the vehicle at unwarranted Lee accelerated. It also contains information which may be used against you claiming that you faked the acceleration. Be careful to preserve the car at all costs or your case may be lost forever.