Jury Begins Deliberation in Toyota Lawsuit for Unintended Acceleration
A Los Angeles County jury will decide a $20-million lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corporation regarding a 2009 crash that killed a woman from Upland, Calif. The family of Noriko Uno filed the Toyota lawsuit claiming that Toyota was negligent in not installing a critical safety feature that led to the vehicle’s unintended acceleration. Accident Details According to court documents, Uno’s 2006 Toyota Camry accelerated unexpectedly, causing her to travel the wrong way down a street before striking a utility pole and a tree. Attorneys for the family say that Toyota’s failure to install a brake override system in the Camry led to the woman’s death. Attorneys for the automaker say that Uno more than likely caused the accident herself by mistaking the gas pedal for the brake, and that the override system would not have prevented the accident. Unexpected Acceleration The California case is expected to set precedent for hundreds of unexpected acceleration cases that involved Toyota vehicles, leading to massive recalls in October 2009 for a variety of repairs. In some cases, Toyota found that floor mats interfered with gas pedals, and resolved the problem by installing shorter gas pedals in some Toyota and Lexus models. In other vehicles, the problem lies in the electronic throttle control, while others believed the installation of the brake override system could have prevented the crashes. Ford Precedent In late September 2013, however, a jury ruled for Ford Motor Company in a case where the plaintiff argued that a safety device not included in the vehicle led to injuries of the driver and passenger in a Ford F-150 pickup. In that crash, the driver accidentally pressed the gas pedal rather than the brake, striking a guardrail, two other vehicles, and a utility pole. Both the driver and passenger survived, but suffered severe injuries. Attorneys argued that if the truck had been equipped with inflatable seat belts, their injuries would have been less severe. The jury found that Ford was not obligated to install additional safety equipment and, therefore, was not responsible for the injuries. When an auto defect is suspected as the cause or contributing factor in a car accident that causes injury or death, a product liability claim may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding an auto accident where injuries may have been caused or worsened by defective car components.