Insurers are gearing up to seek reimbursement from embattled automaker Toyota and motorists who believe a defective vehicle was responsible for an Illinois car accident may also be entitled to collect for damages, the Associated Press reported.
Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide this year for a series of problems including sticking gas pedals. The company agreed last month to pay a $16.375 million fine, the largest ever levied by the federal government in connection with defective vehicles, after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found Toyota failed to notify consumers of the safety defect in a timely manner.
“By failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly. We are continuing to investigate whether the company has lived up to all its disclosure obligations.”
And the problems continue for Toyota as Consumer Reports issued a rare “Don’t Buy” rating this month on the 2010 Lexus GX 460, an SUV in Toyota’s flagship luxury line, after concerns that the vehicle was prone to rollover accidents. Toyota issued a recall after the report.
A spokesperson with the Insurance Information Institute said not every accident involving a Toyota will be eligible. “Just because you drive one of the cars that was recalled doesn’t mean the accident was caused by the faulty accelerator,” she said. “It would have to be determined that the cause of the accident was because of the defect.”
Federal authorities have linked 52 deaths to sudden acceleration in Toyotas and more than 100 personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against the company.