Toyota Settlement For a Class-Action Lawsuit. Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to pay more than $1 billion as settlement for a class-action lawsuit filed by motorists who claimed the company’s vehicles sped out-of-control due to a defective accelerator device.
According to a New York Times report, the Japanese automotive giant agreed to the settlement this week, ending years of legal wrangling with thousands of claims that the company knowingly installed defective accelerator devices on many of its automobiles and hid details of reports of motorists who had experienced this defect and suffered serious injuries or even died.
The terms of the settlement still must be approved by a federal judge but if it’s OK’d, Toyota will be forced to pay “for the loss of value on vehicles affected by multiple recalls and install special safety features on up to 3.2 million cars,” according to the Times report.
Toyota is still facing hundreds of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed by individual motorists or on behalf of families who lost loved ones in fatal crashes caused by the defective ‘Toyota’ vehicles.
Toyota attempted numerous times to deflect blame for the defective accelerators.
The top-selling automobile manufacturer has attempted numerous times to deflect blame for the defective accelerators, including blaming motorists and floor mats in the vehicles. Still, the company was forced to recall more than 8 million vehicles since 2009 due to a potentially defective accelerator.
This defective part was suspected of causing the problems for several reasons. First, those who reported the problems noted that their Toyota vehicles were prone to speeding out-of-control and this typically culminated in one ultimate incident that often led to serious injuries or even death. A high-profile incident in which an off-duty police officer and his family were killed when their ‘Toyota’ vehicle sped out-of-control called greater attention to this problem initially back in 2009.
According to the same report, the proposed settlement with ‘Toyota’ will have the company “create a fund of $250 million to pay claims to former owners of cars affected by the acceleration recalls.” Toyota must also agree to pay for a fix to the unintended acceleration problem, what they’re calling a “brake override system” and that the company has already installed more than 2.6 million of these devices and it expects to install more than a half-million others.
Toyota will also pay for other repairs to the affected vehicles for up to 10 years. Only some repairs will qualify for that program, according to the report. That program will cover more than 16 million ‘Toyota’ owners.
The company must also pay $30 million to finance auto safety research. That move is likely in response to the company’s suddenly tainted reputation. Until the defective accelerator problem arose, ‘Toyota’ had enjoyed top success in the domestic auto market as its Camry sedan had become the top-selling car in the U.S. and remained so for years.
Since this initial series of recalls, the company has continued to issue other safety recalls on their vehicles and in many of these actions, it’s clear that the company sat on data that showed its vehicles or one of their parts were defective before taking actions to recall them, just as they did with the defective accelerators.
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