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Toyota settles in class action products liability lawsuit


Consumers in California may be interested to learn of a recent settlement that was reached between the car manufacturer Toyota and the plaintiffs in a sudden acceleration case, after Toyota lost a products liability case. In the products liability case, a jury found Toyota liable for the faulty electronics systems installed in a Camry sedan that caused it to suddenly and unexpectedly accelerate, resulting in the death of one woman and injury to another. The judge ordered Toyota to pay $1.5 million in compensatory damages to the family of the woman killed and another $1.5 million to the injured driver. This ruling caused the company to reach a settlement in order to avoid the imposition of punitive damages.

Toyota's vehicles have been involved in many car accidents involving sudden acceleration. The company faces hundreds of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits related to this alleged mechanical defect. The company has recalled millions of vehicles for defects in gas pedals and floor mats that allegedly caused sudden acceleration, and the company's executives have testified before congressional committees regarding the problem. The company was also fined over $65 million dollars for breaching federal laws regarding vehicle safety. Toyota has settled a number of lawsuits similar to the one in this case, including a $10 million settlement to the family of a California Highway patrolman who was killed along with three members of his family in a runaway Lexus outside of San Diego.

Products liability lawsuits are personal injury lawsuits filed when a plaintiff is injured by a defective or dangerous product sold or manufactured by the defendant. In order to prevail, a plaintiff must prove that the product was defective or dangerous when it left the control of the defendant.

Anyone injured by a defective product has the legal right to file a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or retailer. They have the ability to seek monetary damages for the injury incurred, as well as for lost wages, medical bills and for pain and suffering. Those impacted by dangerous or defective products have the right to seek judicial redress for the wrong they suffered.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "After losing verdict, Toyota settles in sudden acceleration case," Jerry Hirsch, Oct. 25, 2013

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