Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA) Attorneys
If you have been injured in a Toyota sudden acceleration accident in California, contact our product liability attorneys to discuss your case.
Our firm has gone after and won against vehicle manufacturers that put money before safety. We have successfully litigated auto defect cases and have the experience and resources to take on these expensive and complicated lawsuits.
For over 35 years we have been helping victims seek justice. Call 949-203-3814 for a free consultation.
If you suspect sudden acceleration has taken place, it is important that you preserve your vehicle. An experienced auto products liability attorney will be able to not only preserve your vehicle, which is the most important piece of evidence in your case, but also obtain vital information from the vehicle's event data recorder or "black box" to determine what exactly occurred.
Independent Testing and National Experts
The experienced and knowledgeable auto product liability lawyers at Bisnar | Chase have many years of experience fighting large corporations including automakers on behalf of injured victims and their families. We perform independent testing of the vehicles utilizing leading national experts. We get to the core of the problem so we can determine the facts and help you obtain fair compensation for your losses.
We are all too familiar with stalling techniques and strategies employed by large corporations and their legal defense teams. We have the courage, conviction and the tenacity to fight and emerge successful in these types of complex, challenging cases. We do not collect any fees until we have recovered compensation for you. Please contact us at 949-203-3814 to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
California Family vs. Toyota Just Tip of Iceberg
The first sudden acceleration case against Toyota begins July 2013. Thousands of motorists have claimed that the car has lost value due to the fear and worry of sudden unintended acceleration.
Some car owners fear the vehicle has lost all value while others fear being a victim themselves of a sticky gas pedal that has already led to deaths. Toyota has already settled some wrongful death cases and agreed to pay over one billion dollars to vehicle owners who claimed the loss in value for their vehicles.
This Toyota products liability case is the first to go to trial. Noriko Uno died in 2009 when her car accelerated to over 100 MPH in a 30 MPH zone, striking a tree and telephone pole.
In this image you can see just how far Noriko Uno was pulling on her emergency brake in an effort to stop the runaway car.
Toyota has maintained all along that there is no issue with its vehicles and has conducted forensic studies only to find no answer to why this happens.
Toyota claims it could be a combination of driver error or ill-fitting floor mats which can cause the gas pedal to stick. Over 80 cases have been filed against Toyota so far, but Uno's is the first to go to trial in California.
California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor (off duty) was with his family in a rented Lexus when it accelerated to more than 120 MPH, struck another vehicle, rolled and burst into flames killing the officer and his family members.
A 911 call was released, and in it you could hear the passengers screaming and being told to 'pray' by another family member right before the fatal accident. In that case, Toyota quietly settled for 10 million dollars and subsequently recalled millions of vehicles. Investigators claimed the acceleration was caused by a wrong size floor mat.
What To Do If Your Vehicle Suddenly Accelerates
In a situation where your car is going fast on its own and you have no control, it's hard to keep a level head, but there are actions you can take to try and minimize the risk of a fatal accident. Top rated Auto defect attorney Brian Chase discusses SUA safety including putting your car in neutral or disengaging your gas pedal.
What Has Gone Wrong With Toyota?
Toyota vehicles are the top-selling brands in the United States. Over the decades, this Japanese automaker has worked on building a reputation for quality, efficiency and reliability. However, over the last few years, the automaker has been dealt a severe blow with several recalls involving more than 10 million vehicles for a problem known as "sudden or unintended acceleration." The problems involving mechanical and software issues included components such as sticky gas pedals and faulty floor mats.
In many cases, sudden acceleration or loss of vehicle control led to serious injury or even fatal accidents. There were even instances where individuals received prison sentences for causing fatal accidents when in fact the drivers had lost control of their Toyota vehicles due to sudden acceleration. It is unclear how these accelerator issues have affected Toyota sales, but many experts say that the recalls involving sudden acceleration turned into a "PR nightmare" for Toyota tarnishing the image of the company, which had stood many years as the bastion of safety and reliability.
In December 2012, Toyota agreed to pay $1.3 billion to settle multi-district litigation over financial damages associated with Toyota and Lexus acceleration problems. The attorney for the carmaker claims that the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing but rather a way to turn "the page on this legacy legal issue." In 2010, Toyota paid nearly $49 million for three violations relating to stalling auto safety recalls.
What Exactly is Unintended Acceleration?
If your vehicle has ever sped up beyond your control, or accelerated when you weren't even pressing the gas pedal, it may mean that you have experienced unintended acceleration. There are many instances, however, where a defective auto part, mechanical malfunction, a software glitch or an electrical issue makes the vehicle accelerate beyond the control of the driver. This can be extremely dangerous because it is often impossible to stop the vehicle when it accelerates out of control. Many victims of unintended acceleration find themselves unable to slow down or stop until they crash. Often, this has devastating consequences because of the high speeds involved.
Toyota and Unintended Acceleration
Since 2001, Toyota has allegedly struggled with unintended acceleration malfunctions resulting from electronic issues, poorly designed floor mats and sticky accelerators. Here is a timeline of the Japanese automaker's struggles with sudden acceleration:
- In 2001, Toyota redesigned their 2002 model year Camry. They warned that the installation of a mobile two-way radio could affect a number of different electronic systems including the electronic throttle control system.
- By February of the following year, there was a complaint of a 2002 Camry that had a surging engine that revved even when the brakes were depressed.
- In August 2002, Toyota issued a Technical Service Bulletin regarding the Camry engine surging issue.
- By August 31, 2002, Toyota received a warranty claim to correct a throttle problem.
- In April 2003, there was a report of the sudden acceleration of a 1999 Lexus LS 400.
- In May 2003, Toyota issued a bulletin to update the electronic control module calibration because of surging 2003 Camry vehicles.
- In January 2004, a woman from Maryland submitted a petition to investigate speed control linkages after her 2003 Lexus malfunctioned and caused a crash.
- In March 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 37 complaints and 30 crashes resulting in five injuries because of the unintended acceleration issue.
- In 2007, Toyota began contacting Lexus customers about proper floor mat usage. The original mats were capable to making the accelerator pedal stick.
- By August of 2007, there were reports of 40 complaints, eight crashes and 12 injuries resulting from unintended accelerations in 2007 Lexus ES350s.
- It wasn't until September of 2007 that Toyota issued a recall of 55,000 Lexus and Toyotas that had all-weather floor mats, which caused the accelerator to stick.
- In January of 2009, Toyota issued a recall of 26,501 Sienna vehicles to replace the original floor carpet cover.
- In August 2009, a family of four was killed in a San Diego car accident when their Lexus accelerated to 120 miles per hour and crashed. It was determined that the crash was caused by a faulty floor mat that caused the accelerator to stick.
- By September 2009, NHTSA issued a recall for driver's side floor mats on a number of popular models.
- In October, Toyota recalled 3.8 million vehicles to address potential accelerator pedal entrapment issues.
- In January 2010, Toyota issued a new recall for sticky accelerator pedals that was separate from the floor mat recall. That recall included recent models of the Rav4, Corolla, Matrix, Avalon Camry Highlander, Tundra and Sequoia.
- Toyota Sudden Unitended Acceleration Safety Study Volume 1
- Toyota Sudden Unitended Acceleration Safety Study Volume 2
(Image credit: NBC San Diego)