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Sudden acceleration accidents involving motorcycles happen when a motorcycle suddenly accelerates. This is also known as a sudden, unintended acceleration or SUA. If you were injured in an SUA, you may be entitled to seek compensation.
Motorcycles are becoming an increasingly more popular method of transportation in America. They can often be seen cruising down highways, stopped alongside cars at a red light, or strolling through neighborhood cul-de-sacs. In 2017, a total of 8,392,682 on-road motorcycles were registered in the U.S, and year after year this number continues to steadily rise.
One reason behind this upward trend involves constant improvements to the motorcycle manufacturing process. New features, such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS), radar sensor systems, and stability control systems, as well as improvements to older technologies, make motorcycles safer and easier to ride. As motorcycles become less dangerous, and awareness of safe riding techniques increases, more individuals make the decision to purchase one.
Unfortunately, as with all types of vehicles, there are still dangers involved with riding a motorcycle, and motorcycle accidents can happen. While many of these accidents occur due to the negligence of others, other accidents can be caused due to the motorcycle itself. If you have been injured due to a malfunctioning motorcycle, the experienced lawyers at Zinda Law Group can help you seek compensation while you recover.
What is Sudden, Unintended Acceleration?
Sudden, Unintended Acceleration, or SUA, occurs when a motorcycle suddenly accelerates without such prompting by the rider. In many online forums, motorcycle riders express that sudden acceleration problems frequently occur while traveling downhill in first gear. Unintended acceleration in motorcycles can also occur while trying to brake, slowing down to a stop, or while accelerating normally.
What Causes Unintended Acceleration in Motorcycles?
Cases of sudden, unintended acceleration in motorcycles can be linked to a new type of throttle, known as a throttle-by-wire. In motorcycles designed and manufactured with throttle-by-wire, when the driver twists the handlebar, an electronic signal is sent to the ECU, or engine control unit, of the motorcycle. The ECU is an important motorcycle feature that controls the engine fuel and oxygen output. Before throttle-by-wire was developed, a twist of the hand throttle would mechanically move a cable physically connected to the engine throttle controls.
Essentially, throttle-by-wire replaces the traditional physical connections in motorcycles with an electric one that is interpreted by a computer within the vehicle. In a properly functioning motorcycle with throttle-by-wire, the use of the throttle will result in a linear throttle response that is smooth and intuitive. Sudden, unintended acceleration occurs when the computer misinterprets the electrical signal sent by the throttle, and the engine responds with an unexpected and sudden surge of power that can be extremely dangerous.
Injuries Associated with Sudden Acceleration of Motorcycles
Because instances of sudden, unintended acceleration occur unexpectedly, and typically in situations when such acceleration is not warranted, these accidents can result in severe and potentially fatal injuries.
Some of the injuries that can result from unintended motorcycle acceleration include:
- Cuts, bruises, scrapes, strains, and sprains,
- Lacerations and contusions,
- Broken bones, fractures, and herniated discs,
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Temporary or permanent paralysis, and
- Wrongful death
Motorcycle Lawsuits Involving Sudden, Unintended Acceleration
While issues involving sudden, unintended acceleration are typically associated with cars, accidents involving motorcycles occur as well.
Yamaha Motor Co. motorcycles have been the center of several personal injury lawsuits involving sudden acceleration motorcycle accidents. One case in 2002, which was settled for $24M, involved an individual who was paralyzed from the waist down following a motorcycle accident caused by sudden unintended acceleration.
More recently in 2016, a Texas man filed a lawsuit against Yamaha, claiming that a defective throttle resulted in the sudden acceleration that threw him from his bike.
Yamaha is not the only motorcycle manufacturer to face a lawsuit over sudden acceleration problems. Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group was subject to a wrongful death lawsuit in 2008 after the electronic throttle was improperly repaired and later malfunctioned, resulting in the death of a Texas man and serious injuries to his wife.
As more cases of sudden, unintended acceleration in motorcycles come to light, other manufacturer’s electronic throttle systems have come under heavy scrutiny. Ducati Motor Holding and Indian Motorcycle are some of the other manufacturer’s to face issues involving unintended acceleration related to malfunctioning throttles.
Talk To Zinda Law Group
Defective throttles are not the only motorcycle feature that can cause sudden, unintended acceleration. Stuck carburetors, faulty tire pressure monitors, and software glitches have also been cited as potential causes of unintended acceleration in personal injury lawsuits.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, and suspect the motorcycle itself may have caused it, the attorneys at Zinda Law Group can guide you through every step of the legal process, and build the strongest case possible to help you recover maximum compensation while you recover.
Our firm also believes that individuals should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you will pay nothing unless we secure a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your motorcycle accident case. That's our No Win No Fee Guarantee.
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