Toyota Motor Corporation and the United States government has reached a settlement agreement over a four-year criminal probe into recalls for unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. The settlement, reported at $1.2 billion, is the largest criminal penalty ever against a car company in the United States.
The terms of the settlement include the dismissal of the criminal case by the U.S. Department of Justice, continued cooperation from Toyota into the investigation of potential defects, and the creation of an independent monitor to oversee Toyota’s internal handling of of accident reports and safety communications.
Toyota had won numerous court cases regarding unintended acceleration, but recently entered settlement negotiations after losing an Oklahoma court case where the jury awarded $3 million in damages to the occupants of a 2005 Camry that experienced unintended acceleration. In the trial, plaintiff attorneys argued that the Camry’s electronics were to blame for the crash, specifically, the software used in the electronic throttle-control system. Defense attorneys argued that the driver of the Camry mistakenly hit the gas pedal. According to jurors, the testimony of an expert witness for the plaintiffs convinced them that the cause of the crash was the electronic system.
Toyota has hundreds of pending lawsuits regarding unintended acceleration. They deny that their vehicle’s electronics are flawed and continue to blame drivers and recalled floor mats. To date, there has been no recall for faulty electronics in Toyota vehicles. Toyota has paid over $1.6 billion in settlements to car owners and about $68 million in federal fines related to sudden acceleration and recalls.
The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker works with a nationally recognized team of product defect trial attorneys. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident you believe may have been caused by a product design flaw or manufacturing defect, contact us today at (800) 333-0000 for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation.