Toyota owners in Arlington Heights likely recall the automaker’s massive recall of millions of its vehicles in Illinois and across the U.S. due to a sudden acceleration problem that caused vehicles to surge out of control, often causing deadly car accidents. The auto defect led to thousands of wrongful death lawsuits filed against Toyota by families of those killed in collisions caused by the defect, which was later blamed on badly sized floor mats causing accelerator pedals to stick.
In what could be signal of what is to come with this litigation, Toyota announced on Jan. 17 that it had reached a settlement with the plaintiffs, a few weeks before it was to be the first case to go to trial in February.
The case was related to the death of a man and his son’s fiancée in a single-vehicle accident in November 2010. The older man was driving a Camry on the interstate with his wife, their son and the son’s fiancée when the vehicle suddenly sped up, causing the man to lose control despite his attempts to brake at a stop sign at the top of an exit ramp. The car sped into the intersection and crashed into a wall.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Toyota said in a statement that its entering into a settlement does not imply that it would settle all the other wrongful death and personal injury cases related to the floor mat defect. However, it is unlikely that Toyota is done settling cases out of court.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “Toyota settles wrongful death lawsuit,” Andrew Dalton, Jan. 18, 2013