Automaker Toyota has been in the news probably more than it would like over the last year and half. Numerous reported car accidents and alleged safety problems have tarnished the company’s image and hurt their vehicle sales. Now, some of the fallout from all of those alleged product defects and safety problems is making the news.
Recently, Toyota settled one of the first personal injury lawsuits that had been brought in connection to the much-discussed floor mat and sudden acceleration problems. The crash that become the subject of the lawsuit occurred in August of 2009 and resulted in the death of four individuals on a suburban San Diego highway.
According to reports, the victims were in a Lexus that had been lent for a dealership when the accident occurred. The driver, who was also a California highway patrol officer, reached speeds in excess of 120 mph before striking another vehicle, hitting an embankment, and rolling the car before it burst into flames.
Investigation of the accident led to the conclusion that the vehicle had the wrong size floor mat, which in turn, trapped the acceleration pedal and caused the accident. Toyota eventually recalled the floor mats and later conducted another recall related to acceleration pedals that could get stuck on their own.
Toyota is facing the prospect of hundreds of other suits relating to alleged product liability or safety failures. The company reportedly attempted to keep this latest settlement confidential, but media outlet argued that the public interest necessitated the release of the information.
If you have been injured in a car accident, or because of some other type of product defect, you should speak to an attorney about your chances of obtaining compensation for your injuries. These types of lawsuits are important not just to make sure victims are compensated, but also to make sure that manufacturers and other businesses take measures to ensure their products are safe for us all.
Source: The New York Times, Toyota to Pay $10 Million in Crash Suit, The Associated Press, 12/24/10