Japanese car manufacturer Toyota Motors recently agreed to a $1.1 billion settlement in connection with alleged acceleration issues that reportedly posed a safety hazard to those driving or riding in certain vehicles built by the company. If the pending class-action settlement is approved, it would include approximately 16 million Toyota, Scion, and Lexus motor vehicles that were manufactured by the company between 1998 and 2010. The proposed settlement includes no admission of guilt on the part of Toyota and was designed only to cover economic losses related to alleged vehicle safety issues. The settlement will reportedly not have an effect on the more than 300 personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits that are now pending against Toyota.
Although Toyota has reportedly maintained that alleged acceleration issues were not related to the company’s electronic throttle control system technology, the company chose to institute a safety recall between 2009 and 2011. According to Toyota, the unexpected acceleration issues resulted from gas pedals that stuck and poorly fitting floor mats. In addition, data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found no link between reports of unintended vehicle acceleration and the company’s electronic throttle control system. As a result of safety concerns, Toyota’s reputation for safety and reliability reportedly took a hit in 2010. During the same year, the company purportedly lost about $2 billion in earnings.
Because no clear link between Toyota’s technology and unexpected acceleration issues has yet been established, many injury litigants may face an uphill battle in court. In fact, a Texas court has already dismissed such a case due to an alleged lack of evidence. Some feel that absent a convincing technical or scientific foundation that links the unexpected acceleration issues reported to Toyota's technology, it may be difficult to win against the auto giant. Still, Toyota reportedly settled one of the largest wrongful death cases filed against the company for $10 million.
Individuals who live in the Chicago area often spend a lot of time in their automobiles. Even under the best of circumstances, accidents are bound to occur. Motor Vehicle accidents may be caused by many factors including driver carelessness, inattention, or impairment. In addition, weather, hazardous road conditions, motor vehicle defects, and other factors can cause an unexpected crash. Even if you were partially to blame for an automobile wreck, you may be entitled to receive damages for any injuries or medical expenses that you incurred as a result of the accident. A quality Chicago car accident attorney can answer any questions you may have and help you file your personal injury case.