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Minnesota Jury Awards $11 Million in Fatal Toyota Crash

Feb 6, 2015

On Tuesday, a federal jury in Minneapolis awarded nearly $11 million to two families after an accident involving sudden acceleration of a Toyota Camry killed three people and seriously injured two others.

The jury found that a sudden acceleration defect in a 1996 Camry was 60 percent responsible for the 2006 accident, Law360 reports. The Camry rear-ended an Oldsmobile after exiting a highway. The Oldsmobile's driver and his son were killed instantly killed and his niece was left a quadriplegic as a result of the accident. She died 18 months later. The driver’s father and his daughter were also injured. The jury found the Camry driver 40 percent responsible for the crash.

The jury award to the two families was nearly $11.4 million. The Camry driver was awarded $1.25 million, but due to his partial responsibility for the accident, the award will be reduced to $750,000, attorneys said. The Camry driver claimed the car began to accelerate by itself and did not respond when he hit the brake, according to Law360. He was convicted of negligent homicide in 2008 and served two years in prison before the conviction was overturned, when Toyota’s recall of later-model cars for acceleration defects brought new attention to his case.

The plaintiffs argued that the Camry’s accelerator was stuck in a "near wide-open position." Other Camry owners testified at the trial that they experienced similar sudden acceleration problems. Toyota argued that there was no defect and that the driver accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake. But an attorney for the plaintiffs said, "The lives lost and the horrible consequences of that tragic day in 2006 are a direct result of this dangerous and defective 1996 Toyota Camry," according to Law360.

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