Toyota Seeks Settlement for Sudden Acceleration Lawsuits

Toyota to Work Toward Settlement in Sudden Acceleration Personal Injury Lawsuits

ToyotaTwo months ago, an Oklahoma jury found that Toyota’s Camry engine was at fault in a sudden acceleration lawsuit, because it was defective. Now, the vehicle manufacturing giant has agreed to begin settlement negotiations over its sudden acceleration lawsuits.

The verdict of “reckless disregard,” which in 2005 led to the death of a woman and the serious injury of another in a crash, was the first of several lawsuits involving sudden acceleration of Toyota’s vehicles that was ruled in favor of the plaintiff. Toyota won the first three sudden acceleration lawsuits.

“I think Toyota believed that the Oklahoma case exposed the company to much greater liability than was previously thought,” said Carl Tobias, a professor who specializes in product liability at the University of Richmond School of Law.

In July, Toyota also agreed to a $1.6 million settlement involving a class action lawsuit brought forth by consumers who suffered financial losses related to sudden acceleration.

However, the vehicle manufacturer still faces hundreds of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits because of the engine fault. Most of these sudden acceleration lawsuits have been consolidated into a federal court in California, and Toyota’s decision to pursue a comprehensive settlement process will suspend that litigation. Since 2009, Toyota has recalled more than 11 million vehicles, including the Camry and several Lexus lines, due to problems with the floor mat which caused the accelerator to stick. The company has also paid more than $65 million in federal fines for violating safety regulation in the US.

“In our view, this process will bring greater efficiency to the resolution of pending cases and provide a clear path forward for those claims that cannot be resolved outside of trial,” Carly Schaffner, a Toyota spokeswoman, said in a statement on Friday. “We continue to stand behind the safety and quality of our vehicles and are grateful to our customers who have continued to stand behind Toyota.”

“This process will bring greater efficiency to the resolution of pending cases and provide a clear path forward for those claims that cannot be resolved outside of trial,” she added.

“Toyota is anxious to get these unintended acceleration woes behind it, and the recent verdict in Oklahoma only highlights the potential for it to drag on indefinitely,” said Karl Brauer, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book. “The automaker can quickly calculate the cost of settling these lawsuits, while the ongoing hit to its quality and safety reputation is difficult to predict should these trials continue over the next decade.”

“Participation in the intensive settlement process is open to all plaintiffs,” U.S. District Judge James V. Selna said in the order. “Cases that do not resolve during the initial settlement conference shall be set for a formal mediation.”

The next pending sudden acceleration lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in Michigan on February 19th, and involves the same Toyota Camry model as the Oklahoma trial.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Vehicle Recall Wrongful Death Cases

If you have experienced a problem with a defective product in your automobile, especially if a defective part or sudden acceleration has led to an auto accidentpersonal injury, or wrongful death, and a proper vehicle recall notice has not been issued, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We can help you with complicated auto insurance claims, and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve to help you with lost income and medical bills. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in South Carolina, Georgia, and New York. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today at (803) 252-4800.

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