Toyota Recall Accident Lawsuits Are on the Rise Due to Alarming Number of Vehicle Recalls
Hundreds of recall accident lawsuits have been filed against Toyota over the last three years because of defective components. Recently, the manufacturer paid the largest settlement in history to resolve economic loss lawsuits, while it prepares to face the first personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits related to the recalls later this year.
Since 2009, Toyota has issued an alarming number of recalls for more than 14 million vehicles and has been inundated with toyota recall accident lawsuits filed nationwide, stemming from uncontrolled acceleration in various models and brake issues in the Prius hybrid. Three of those recalls prompted Toyota to pay nearly $50 million in fines from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) for delaying the recalls. NHTSA initiated an unprecedented investigation into Toyota’s acceleration issues, stating that, “While Toyota is taking responsible action now, it unfortunately took an enormous effort to get to this point,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
Recent Toyota Recalls
Though Toyota has repeatedly promised to improve quality assurance procedures and increase customer safety, just this past October, Toyota made headlines again when it recalled 7.43 million vehicles globally, the largest recall in history, for power window fire risks (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2012/10/10/toyota-recall-door-locks-image/1624503/ ) According to the LA Times, at least nine people have suffered injuries due to the power-window defect (https://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/10/business/la-fi-autos-toyota-recall-20121011) and NBC News reports that NHTSA has received more than 200 complaints, so far. (https://www.nbcnews.com/business/toyota-hold-worlds-biggest-car-recall-16-years-1C6374378)
Just one month later, in November 2012, Toyota issued a global recall for 2.77 million vehicles for steering and water pump defects (https://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-11-14/toyota-to-recall-2-dot-77-million-vehicles-on-steering-pump-flaws), which, according to Businessweek, makes Toyota number one for three of the past four years for vehicle recalls.
Toyota Recall Lawsuits
While it is currently unknown how many accidents, injuries, or deaths have been caused by the defects, especially regarding the uncontrolled acceleration issue, media reports suggest that Toyota is currently facing an estimated 300 Toyota recall accident lawsuits filed in state and federal courts across the country (https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/toyota-recalls-litigation-over-acceleration-32656-2.html )of which, Edmunds Insideline reports nearly 100 are personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits (https://www.insideline.com/toyota/toyota-faces-judicial-sanction-in-sudden-acceleration-case.html ). These personal injury lawsuits are generally brought by individuals who have been injured, or whose family members have been injured or killed allegedly due to the defects involved in the Toyota recalls. The first federal bellwether trial for personal injury and wrongful death claims is scheduled for February of this year, in U.S. District Court, Central District of California, (Santa Ana) under Judge James V. Selna.
Judge Selna is quite familiar with the issues surrounding Toyota and the recalls as just last month, Judge Selna approved a $1.1 billion class action settlement brought by Toyota vehicle owners. The lawsuits were consolidated in multidistrict litigation, and were brought by owners who argued that by failing to disclose or fix the defects, the company caused the value of their vehicles to drop for which they deserved to be compensated. According to the New York Times, under the terms of the settlement Toyota would pay $250 million to car owners affected by the recalls, create a customer support program, and give $30 million to automotive safety researchers to study driver behavior during unexpected acceleration.
While Toyota has paid nearly $50 million in fines to the NHTSA, and at least one of the largest vehicle recall related settlements in history, the company’s continues to grow, in fact, Toyota expects to turn a $9.54 billion profit by March 31, 2013.
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