In the last few years, Toyota Motor Corporation has had to defend itself from a slew of lawsuits stemming from sudden accelerations that resulted in tragic accidents. Many may recall the horrific accidents in California and Utah where Camry based vehicles accelerated to over 100 miles per hour and crashed, despite drivers’ frantic efforts to get the cars to stop.
Since then, Toyota has paid more than $1 billion to settle several wrongful death suits and consumer protection actions brought by disgruntled customers who saw the value of their vehicles plummet because of mass recalls.
In the midst of the many lawsuits, one wrongful death suit is yet to be settled. In fact, the 2009 crash that killed Noriko Uno (and initially led to the recalls) is set to be determined by a jury. Jurors heard closing arguments in the case where Uno’s heirs claimed that Toyota was negligent in failing to install a brake override system that would have allowed her to stop her car that sped out of control after an accident.
Toyota claims that it was not at fault, and that it was Uno’s actions in mistaking the gas pedal for the brake that ultimately led to her death. Further, Toyota claims that a brake override system would have prevented the accident. Nevertheless, the automaker issued a recall to install override systems in all U.S. based Camrys that did not have them.
It will be interesting to see how the jury finds, and what damages (if any) are awarded.
Source: LA Times.com, Toyota, driver's family differ on cause of fatal 2009 crash, September 30, 2013