Preventable Car Accidents: Pedal Confusion and Storefront Crashes
In late February, a driver crashed his vehicle into the front of a Walnut Creek restaurant. Investigators believe that the elderly driver accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake while trying to park in front of the building. Fortunately, no one sustained serious injuries, although authorities remain concerned, as the incident was the third car accident of this type to occur in the Contra Costa County town in recent months. If you have been injured in such an incident, a San Jose car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Pedal Error Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedal error accidents usually have one of three causes:
- A driver intends to step on the brake, but mistakenly steps on the accelerator;
- The driver’s foot slips from the edge of the brake onto the accelerator; or
- The driver intends to brake, but mistakenly steps on both pedals at the same time.
Crashes caused by pedal error most often occur when vehicles are proceeding slowly, such as when a driver is trying to park. After making a pedal error, drivers often do not have time to correct the mistake due to the sudden acceleration that results from using the wrong pedal. This is because drivers, in many cases, are already in close proximity to a building or another car when the error occurs. According to the NHTSA, drivers under the age of 20 and over the age of 65 are four times more likely than the average driver to be involved in an automobile accident that involves pedal confusion.
Pedal Error Prevention
The NHTSA has provided a series of tips for preventing pedal error. The agency suggests that drivers:
- Be familiar with their vehicle and, if driving an unfamiliar vehicle, note the location of the pedals before starting the car;
- Aim for the center of the brake and accelerator pedals;
- Avoid distraction;
- Drive slowly and carefully when parking; and
- Wear appropriate shoes, such as flat-soled or lightweight footwear, avoiding flip-flops and sandals that could become caught on the pedals.
The damage sustained in a storefront accident caused by a pedal error can be devastating. A number of people could be injured as a result, including the driver of the car, nearby pedestrians, anyone shopping in the store, and the store owners themselves. Even if the driver is lucky enough not to have injured anyone, the building will probably have sustained a substantial amount of damage.
In the event that a pedal error caused an accident, a victim may be able to file a claim against the following individuals:
- The driver;
- The car’s manufacturer; or
- The property manager.
Whether the driver was negligent in his or her driving or the manufacturer designed a defective product, the victim may be able to obtain both economic damages, such as compensation for medical bills, repair costs, and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Help From a San Jose Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car accident resulting from another driver’s pedal error, an attorney can help you obtain compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced San Jose car accident lawyer at Janoff Law to learn more about your available options. Call 408-286-2300 and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.