It appears that Toyota's legal troubles will not end anytime soon. In September, just over one year after a tragic car accident took the lives of an off-duty police officer and three of his family members, Toyota settled a lawsuit with the family of the deceased. Although the details of the settlement were kept under wraps for several months, it was recently revealed that Toyota agreed to pay the family $10 million.
The August 2009 crash began the intense scrutiny of Toyota, which continues today. According to the accident reports, the rented Lexus ES 350 sedan driven by off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor was traveling at 120 miles per hour when it crashed into another vehicle and through a fence before flying through the air and erupting into flames, killing Saylor, his wife and brother-in-law, and 13-year-old daughter.
Although the first Toyota recall occurred in September 2007, it took the fatal crash to draw attention to the widespread problem of Toyota vehicles' unsecured floor mats, which San Diego County Sheriff's investigators concluded were responsible for the Saylor accident. In October 2009, Toyota issued a voluntary recall of over 5 million vehicles due to the floor mat that could cause the vehicle's gas pedal to get stuck. Additional recalls were issued because of similar problems.
Toyota has been the subject of numerous products liability and wrongful death lawsuits in recent years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency is currently investigating approximately 90 car accident deaths over the last 10 years that may be related to the reported acceleration problems in Toyota and Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand, vehicles.
If you or a family member has been injured as a result of a faulty vehicle, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.
Source: ABC News, "Toyota Settles Suit Over California Crash for $10 Million", Steve Gorman, 23 December 2010