Toyota settles first of hundreds of wrongful death cases

Last month, Toyota Motor Corporation settled the first in what will eventually be hundreds of pending wrongful death and injury lawsuits over sudden, unintended acceleration of Toyota vehicles. The agreement reached last month was connected to an accident involving a man and a woman who slammed their vehicle into a wall in Utah back in 2010.

The case-which was set to be a bellwether for pending cases-was settled before it went to trial, so the remaining suits will not be affected it. Toyota, for its part, continues to stand behind the safety and integrity of its Electronic Throttle Control System, and has said that, while the case was settled, the company still has a number of other opportunities to defend itself at trial. Toyota blames driver error, faulty floor mats and struck accelerator pedals.

Another case was recently settled in Los Angeles involving a retired police officer. The details of that settlement have not been made public. Back in 2010, Toyota settled a wrongful death suit for $10 million before the current cases were consolidated in federal court in Santa Ana. That latter accident, which took place in 2009, resulted in the death of a California Highway Patrol Officer and three of his family members.

The settlement comes shortly after Toyota agreed to pay over $1 billion to resolve hundreds of lawsuits claiming economic loss as a result of the recall of millions of Toyota vehicles.

Source: pnj.com, “Toyota settles first wrongful death lawsuit,” January 17, 2013