MONTGOMERY, ALA. (December 28, 2009) – Beasley Allen is currently investigating cases of sudden unintended acceleration affecting a large number of Toyota vehicles. Toyota recalled more than 4 million vehicles because of their potential to accelerate suddenly and unexpectedly. Initially, Toyota is blaming the problem on the vehicles’ floor mats, saying a design flaw can cause the mats to slide forward and jam the accelerator pedal. However, Beasley Allen investigators are disputing the argument that this problem is entirely linked to the floor mats.
“That is something that we think the automakers use as an excuse,” says Beasley Allen Shareholder Graham Esdale, who is the lead attorney handling Toyota cases. “We’ve done some statistical analysis and the mats are different in the Toyotas (we’ve examined) than they are in some of the other Toyota vehicles that have experienced this.”
Esdale has become a leading voice in the investigation of these cases. He has been called on by national, regional and local media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, WSMV-TV Nashville and WAKA-TV Montgomery to address this dangerous issue. Graham and his team at Beasley Allen have examined hundreds of incidents of Unintended Acceleration from throughout the country and are currently investigating approximately 30 potential cases.
He has one case involving serious injury and death currently filed on behalf of an Oklahoma client. In this case, the client’s car began speeding out of control even after she had removed her foot from the accelerator pedal. The client was critically injured when her car left the interstate as a result and crashed, and her friend, who was a passenger, was killed. Esdale said photos of the vehicle reveal the floor mat is properly secured and there is no evidence that the mat jammed the gas pedal.
The auto manufacturer recently announced it will install a brake override system in three of its high-end models – the Avalon, Camry and Lexus ES350. However, because Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been so focused on floor mats as the subject of the current vehicle recalls, the brake override system is being presented as something of a gratuity for luxury car owners. This leaves owners of other affected Toyota models to wonder if the manufacturer is really taking their safety into consideration.