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California Auto Defects Lawyers File Products Liability Lawsuit Against Toyota

Orange County, CA (Vocus) February 5, 2010

The California personal injury lawyers of BISNAR CHASE (www.BestAttorney.com) have filed an auto products liability injury lawsuit against Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. and Toyota Motor Corporation. The suit alleges that the 1999 Toyota Camry manufactured and sold by Toyota failed to protect Eleanor Gnup during a June 2009 side impact crash that caused her to suffer catastrophic injuries. The action was brought against the defendants by Eleanor Gnup and her husband, Edward Gnup, who was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the crash. "We allege that Toyota manufactured, marketed, sold and failed to inspect and warn Eleanor and her husband that the subject vehicle lacked any side impact air bag protection and that its restraint system was defective and unsafe, resulting in Ms. Gnup's severe and permanently disabling injuries - safety should not be an optional item," said John Bisnar of the BISNAR CHASE Orange County Auto Products Liability Law Firm. The lawsuit is pending in the Superior Court of California, County of Orange, case # 30-2010-00336522-CU-PL-CJC.

Catastrophic Injury Results From Side Impact T-Bone Car Crash

According to court records, on June 12, 2009, Eleanor Gnup was the properly restrained driver of -- and Edward Gnup the properly restrained passenger in -- a 1999 Toyota Camry as they traveled eastbound on Hermosa Avenue in Fullerton, California. While making a legal left-hand turn at the traffic signal-controlled intersection of Hermosa Avenue and Harbor Boulevard, the Toyota Camry was struck on the driver's side by another vehicle. The force of the side impact "T-bone" car crash in Orange County severely crushed the driver's side of the Camry, causing Eleanor to suffer catastrophic injuries when her head and body impacted against the car's interior components.

Suit Alleges Toyota Knew Camry Failed to Protect Occupants

During the design and development of the 1999 Toyota Camry -- a vehicle in which side air bags were not offered as standard equipment, but rather "optional" -- the automaker performed specific crash tests to determine the vehicle's compliance with the requirements set forth by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, including occupant crash protection, side impact protection, seat belt assemblies and seat belt assembly anchorages, among others. Toyota's side impact crash tests revealed the poor performance of the Camry's restraint system as well as its poor side impact performance and the potential for injury to occupants in side impact crashes due to the lack of side air bags.

The lawsuit alleges Toyota acted with a callous and conscious disregard, not only to the Gnups but also to other users of the vehicle, by failing to make side air bags standard equipment on the 1999 Toyota Camry, when side air bags were not only technologically feasible, but also readily available as optional equipment for little additional cost at the time the vehicle was designed and manufactured.

Further, the suit alleges Toyota knew the Camry's side impact crash protection was greatly reduced due to the vehicle's lack of side air bags and as a result of this knowledge, acted with a callous and conscious disregard to the Gnups and to members of the motoring public who were inexperienced and unfamiliar with the heightened risks of side impact head and torso injuries in vehicles that were not equipped with side air bags.

What's more, it's alleged that Toyota created a marketing and advertising campaign around the time the 1999 Toyota Camry was manufactured in which the vehicle was depicted as performing "safe" under certain conditions that Toyota knew were likely to cause catastrophic injuries and death. "We allege that not only did Toyota consciously fail and refuse to warn consumers of such risks, it failed to make certain design modifications, such as the installation of side air bags as standard equipment, in order to enhance its financial interests," said Bisnar.

The action seeks economic damages for Eleanor and her husband Edward, including medical expenses, loss of past and future earnings and earning capacity, damages for loss of consortium and emotional distress and suffering.

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