Toyota was recently hit with an $11 million injury verdict in a case centering on acceleration defects in a 1996 Camry. The car’s defects caused a serious crash, leaving three people dead and two others critically injured. Car accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm explain the details of this case and others like it throughout the country.
The accident in this case occurred in 2006 when the Camry’s driver, Koua Fong Lee, was exiting a highway. Lee claims the Camry started accelerating by itself and did not respond to pressing the breaks, causing the Camry to rear-end an Oldsmobile. The driver of the Oldsmobile and his son were instantly killed and his niece became a quadriplegic, later dying from her injuries. The remaining two passengers in the Oldsmobile were seriously injured as well.
In the first lawsuit against Lee, in 2008, he was found guilty of negligent homicide and sentenced to eight years in prison. His conviction was overturned two years later, when Toyota announced a massive recall for acceleration defects.
The family in the Oldsmobile, the Trice-Adams, sued Toyota in 2010 for the acceleration issues that devastated their family. Lee and his family joined the case as plaintiffs, calling on other Camry owners to testify about similar problems. Although Toyota placed blame entirely on Lee during this case, the Minneapolis jury ultimately awarded both the Lee and Trice-Adams families $11.4 million for their losses and assigned Toyota 60% of the blame for the crash.
The U.S. Attorneys’ Office fined Toyota $1.2 billion in March 2014 for repeatedly lying about the acceleration defects between 2009 and 2010. It is the largest fine the DOJ has ever imposed on an automaker. The acceleration issues arise from sticky pedals and defective floor mats.
This issue became public in 2009, three years after Lee and Trice-Adams’ tragic accident. Unfortunately, it took another fatal accident to turn the public’s eye to Toyota’s defects. The 2009 crash occurred in San Diego when a Lexus accelerated unexpectedly at full throttle, causing a crash that killed a family of four. The crash was caused by an all-weather floor mat that entrapped the gas pedal.
Despite knowing about the faulty floor mats and sticky pedals since 2009, Toyota failed to notify U.S. regulators of consumers. After many years the company issued recalls of millions of vehicles that are responsible for several deaths. The vehicles affected by these recalls include Camrys, Avalons, and Corollas.
In the $1.2 billion settlement Toyota admitted to misleading consumers by concealing defects and making deceptive statements about safety issues. Experts in the auto industry affirm that Toyota not only failed to recall the defective vehicles, but continued to make and sell new cars with the same parts that they knew were dangerous and deadly.
Similar allegations have been made against General Motors, which recently recalled millions of its vehicles for ignition switch problems. There are many lawsuits filed against GM for these defects, which have caused several deaths. Ignition switch defects can result in unexpected loss of engine power, power steering, brakes, and disabling of airbags. More information on this GM recall can be found here.
Our team of auto accident attorneys has been fighting on behalf of injured victims for over 30 years. If you or someone you love was seriously injured or killed in a car accident, contact our firm today. We provide free, confidential legal consultations to concerned parties nationwide.