Toyota announced earlier this month that it will pay some $29 million to 29 states (including Maryland) and American Samoa as part of its settlement related to safety recalls. The settlement is in response to the lawsuits filed in 2010 (by several state attorney generals), following in the wake of the global recall of 14 million vehicles which accelerated without notice. The lawsuit accused Toyota of failing to notify customers promptly about the problems.
Results of the investigation revealed a lack of communication between Toyota’s Japan and U.S. offices. Toyota has agreed to address communication lapses, post additional information for consumers on its website, and reimburse costs for certain owners related to having their cars repaired.
Toyota and The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agree that the problem is likely sticky gas pedals, faulty floor mats and driver error rather than an electrical issue. So far, the car maker has paid more than $1 billion to settle claims related to the recalls, including a record $17.4 million fine to the U.S. government for failing to quickly report safety problems.
In addition to this settlement, Toyota has also begun to settle the various Wrongful Death lawsuits associated with its defective cars.
In 2010, it settled perhaps the most well known example of the defect, where a former CHP officer and three of his family members were killed after their car reached speeds upwards of 120 mph, hit an SUV, then launched off of an embankment, rolling several times and then burst into flames. Investigations into the accident determined that incorrectly sized floor mats had forced the accelerator down, causing the crash.
There are several different sorts of legal doctrines that come into play here. First of all, Toyota is liable to customers for its defective cars both in terms of the products potentially being considered “lemons,” but also for any personal injury claims which may have resulted. Secondly, in the cases where people were hurt, or killed, Toyota might be liable for the wrongful death claims, such as in the San Diego case. Manufacturers owe a duty to their customers to ensure that their products are not inherently dangerous. If you have one of the defective Toyota models, you should speak with a products liability attorney to determine if you have a claim against Toyota. There is a statute of limitations, so you’ll want to act quickly.
If you or someone you know has been injured by a defective product, or if someone you loved died because of exposure to or use of a defective or dangerous product or substance, you should speak with a Maryland products liability attorney right away. The attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, will work to secure the recovery that you deserve. Contact us today at 1-800-654-1949 or through our website to schedule your complimentary and confidential initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Cruise Industry Adopts New Safety Standards After 2012 Cruise Ship Crash, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published January 28, 2013
Father’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Daughter Finally Makes It to Trial, but Jury Rules that Defendant Was Not Negligent: Tollenger v. State of Maryland, et al, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published December 6, 2013
Insurance Companies Ask Court to Declare They Are Not Obligated to Defend Four Loko Manufacturer in Products Liability Lawsuits: Netherlands Ins. Co. v. Phusion Projects, Inc., Maryland Accident Law Blog, published November 30, 2012