A jury says that Toyota Motor Corporation must pay $3M in the Oklahoma sudden unintended acceleration lawsuit filed by an injured elderly and the family of her passenger that died in a 2007 car crash. $1.5 million will go to Jean Bookout, 76, and the other half to the family of Barbara Schwartz. The automaker settled with the plaintiffs before the jury could decide on punitive damages.
Bookout says that her vehicle accelerated out of control, which caused her to crash her 2005 Camry into an embankment. Toyota had disputed her claims, arguing that she made the mistake by stepping on the accelerator and not the brake pedal.
The jury, however, said that Toyota is liable and behaved with “reckless disregard” for public safety. They made their decision based on claims by the plaintiff that there was a problem with the vehicle’s ETCS-I system, which they believe can be affected by electronic signals coming from sources other than the auto. They say this may affect the throttle.
Toyota maintains there is nothing wrong with the system.
Allegations about sudden unintended acceleration problems have lead the automaker to recall millions of motor vehicles in the last four years. Thousands of people are claiming that electronic problems, ill-fitting floor mats, or sticky accelerators are what caused their autos to speed up out of control, resulting in numerous catastrophic and fatal collisions.
The car manufacturer is the defendant in hundreds of auto products liability lawsuits. Toyota insists that driver error, rather than auto defects, is the cause of a lot of these incidents.
Meantime,the automaker has issued other vehicle recalls, including the one earlier this month over air bag safety issues. 803,000 Camry, Venza, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, and Avalon Hybrid cars were affected.
This week, in what could be considered more bad publicity for Toyota, Consumer Reports announced that it will stop recommending three of the automaker’s vehicles because of poor crash test results.
The magazine said that the Camry sedan, the Rav4 SUV, and the Prius V autos are now officially no longer on its recommendation list. BloombergBusinessweek says that the Camry is currently the bestselling vehicle in the US.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted the crash tests, giving the Camry—one of the most popular sedans on the market—a ‘poor’ rating. IIHS said Toyota had a lot of work to do before it can meet the performance level of competitors. Last month, it gave Toyota’s Corolla a “marginal” crash test rating.
Auto Defect Cases
Manufacturers need to make sure their autos are designed in a way that protects from car crash and doesn’t create them. At The Gilbert Law Group, our auto defects lawyers are here to pursue financial recovery from negligent automakers.
We represent clients in arbitration and in court and we have the resources and experience to go after the biggest manufacturers in the world. Call us for your free case assessment to find out if we can help you. Call us at 1-(303) 431-1111.