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California Auto Products Liability Lawyers File Wrongful Death Action Against Toyota

San Bernardino, CA (PRWEB) August 24, 2009

The California auto defects lawyers of Bisnar Chase (www.BestAttorney.com)] have filed a product liability wrongful death lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, USA. The suit alleges that the 1998 Toyota 4Runner SUV, manufactured by Toyota and sold by Toyota Motor Sales, was improperly designed and prone to rollover and further that it failed to properly protect Jeffrey Bachman during a vehicle rollover crash, which resulted in his demise hours after the accident. The action was brought against the defendants by the deceased's wife, Angela Bachman, and by Jessica, Clare, Luke and Anna Bachman, who are his minor children.

Rollover Resulted in Mortal Roof Crush Injuries

In April 2008, Jeffrey Bachman was driving his 1998 Toyota 4Runner SUV on Interstate 95 northbound north of Wade in North Carolina when Mr. Bachman attempted to change lanes which lead to an over-steer situation that caused the SUV to roll over. This caused an inward SUV roof crush, partially ejecting Bachman, which resulted in open skull fractures, fractured vertebrae, multiple facial fractures, extensive tearing of scalp and facial skin, and a fracture of the right arm--all resulting in fatal injuries.

High Center of Gravity and Narrow Track Width Blamed

When the 4Runner's tires exceeded their maximum cornering speed, the SUV's high center of gravity and comparatively narrow track width caused the SUV to roll over. "It's our position that the lateral instability of the 4Runner made it highly unlikely that anyone but a professional driver would have been able to regain control of this SUV," said Brian Chase of the Bisnar Chase Auto Defects Law Firm.

The suit alleges that even before its manufacture, Toyota knew its 4Runner failed stability tests--being listed as the number two most likely vehicle in its class to roll over in a five-state study undertaken and/or described in the Federal Registry. "During Toyota's own in-house test, the 4Runner rolled over and/or obtained two wheel tip-up, occurring at speeds as low as 32 miles per hour," noted Chase. "We're alleging that Toyota failed to disclose these tests and the likelihood of rollovers to consumers as well as specifically to Mr. Bachman."

Defective and Unsafe Roof Alleged

The plaintiffs further allege that the 4Runner's A, B, C and D pillars, windshield headers and roof rails lacked sufficient strength and structural integrity to withstand lethal roof crushing forces during a foreseeable roll over. "As far back as 1968, Toyota was aware of crash data, in-house testing, field-service reports, and published studies that revealed that its SUVs were susceptible to accident forces that would result in serious and substantial head and neck injuries during rollovers," stated Chase.

4Runner Should Have Had Toyota's Vehicle Stability Control as Standard

Another alleged contributing factor was the absence of Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), a readily available technology, which could have been installed in the 4Runner at relatively little additional cost. The VSC system's ability to sense over steer could have automatically adjusted braking and throttle to match the vehicle's direction to the driver's intention and allow the driver to maintain directional control. "VSC should have been standard equipment on the 4Runner, given its propensity to roll over," continued Chase.

Unsafe Windows and Absence of Side Airbags Contributed to Fatality

The plaintiff further contends that defective and unsafe side and rear windows--that did not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 205--and the absence of side-curtain airbags, each failed to restrain Jeffery Bachman during the rollover and allowed him to be partially ejected. The plaintiffs also allege that Toyota possessed the knowledge and technology to use alternative designs for the side- and rear-window systems, which would have prevented Bachman's partial ejection and subsequent mortal injuries. "We're saying that Toyota refused to implement these improved window designs to cut costs, and that these improved designs could have saved Bachman's life," exclaimed Chase.

The plaintiffs further allege that Toyota misrepresented the character and quality of Bachman's third generation 4Runner through marketing, advertising, and promotional materials, by warranting that the SUV was safe for its intended purpose.

The wrongful death products liability lawsuit (number YC060386) was filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles.

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