Toyota settles car recalls – $1billion dollars
January 1, 2013—Los Angeles, California—According to a report from CBS News, Toyota Motor Corporation has agreed to a settlement of more than $1 billion in payment of damages related to acceleration and brake problems with the Prius hybrid and other models. Toyota has recalled more than 14 million vehicles worldwide as a result of problems with parts such as accelerators and brakes.
The settlement is the largest single settlement in U. S. history for automobile defects. Toyota initially tried to blame drivers and floor mats for the safety issues posed by the faulty parts and attempted to dodge responsibility for the accidents and injuries that have resulted from its faulty products.
The History of Toyota’s Recall Issues
There have been thousands of reports of sudden unintended acceleration since 1999 by Toyota and Lexus customers. These incidents have resulted in at least 341 injuries and 19 deaths. In 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating sudden unintended acceleration in Lexus and Toyota Camry, Tacoma, and Sienna models. At first, the NHTSA seemed to give Toyota an excuse for the problem by blaming floor mats for the problem. Toyota immediately took advantage of this finding to blame customers for improper installation of the mats.
However, the problems continued and the NHTSA could not find the cause of the stick accelerators. Recalls in 2005 and 2007 attempted to correct the problems, but these were on a small scale. More recently, further investigation and testing have led to larger recalls as the cause of SUA remains a mystery.
Replacing the accelerator pedals and floor mats does not seem to solve or prevent the problem. It is possible that the issue is electrical in nature or related to the computer-driven systems running the car. Toyota has steadfastly denied that it could be the electronics systems causing the problems.
The Future of Toyota Auto Recall
One of the most troubling aspects of the Toyota recall situation is that many of the accelerator issues have been tied to vehicles that have not yet been recalled. This means that there could be drivers out there who will experience accidents and injuries from SUA who have no way of knowing that they are in danger. Until the problem is identified successfully, this will remain an issue.
However, with a large amount of the present settlement, it is possible that Toyota is anticipating future payouts for these issues. It is also possible that Toyota plans to cap its liability by engaging new professionals to investigate the cause of the accelerator problems and once and for all give a definitive answer as to the cause of these issues.
Victims who have suffered injuries from a defective car or part should talk to a car recall attorney about their cases. A personal injury lawyer who handles car recall injury cases can give advice about the victim’s rights in such a situation and how much he or she can expect to recover in damages for these types of accidents.