In what is being called a “landmark” trial, Toyota Motor Corp. is the facing California auto products liability allegations in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a woman who died in in a 2009 car crash. This is the first sudden acceleration case involving the automaker to go to trial. Also named as a defendant is the 86-year-old driver that rear-ended Uno’s 2006 Camry after failing to halt at a stop sign.
When the collision happened on August 28, 2009, Uno’s Camry went spinning and the 66-year-old woman’s foot got caught between the brake and gas pedals. The vehicle then accelerated out of control for about half a mile until it hit a tree.
Uno’s family is asking for $20 million in damages. They say that Toyota is liable because it failed to put in a brake override system into the vehicle. If a system had been installed, they contend, the vehicle would have stopped when both the brake and gas pedals were stepped on.
Meantime, the automaker is disputing the product defects claims. Toyota said that having a brake override system in the vehicle would not have altered the outcome of the rear-end crash.
The company claims that it has witnesses who never saw Uno’s brake lights go on and that the collision turned deadly because she accidentally stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal. Toyota is suggesting that Uno’s low blood sugar and other medical conditions may have impaired her driving abilities.
Until now, Toyota has chosen to settle a lot of the sudden acceleration cases against it. This is the first time it opted to go to court instead.
As our Toyota sudden acceleration lawyers reported in the past, hundreds of people have come forward over the last several years to file auto defect lawsuits and wrongful death claims against Toyota, negligent drivers, and others. Sudden acceleration also has been linked to other automakers.
While millions of Toyota autos were recalled beginning in 2008, the announcements came too late for many victims. Media reports estimated that there are dozens of lawsuits still pending. Also, even when recalls are announced, sometimes a consumer may not know one has been issued or the necessary repairs or modifications never get done. Now, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just announced a new step to make sure that a recalled vehicle is repaired.
The new rule requires that all automakers and motorcycle manufacturers establish a web page that will allow people to input their vehicle’s VIN number to access its recall history. Companies would have to update the web pages weekly.
The Gilbert Law Group represents victims and their families throughout the US. Our auto defects attorneys have successfully gone after large automakers and others parties on behalf of our clients. We know what it is like to have your life irrevocably and tragically altered because someone else was negligent and it is our job to help victims get back the auto products liability or wrongful death damages that they are owed.