A few years ago, the media spent considerable time and resources covering the Toyota sudden acceleration scandal. The idea that our nation’s vehicles could suddenly speed out of control without warning was a terrifying one and the public could not seem to get enough coverage of this story as a result. Although certain studies have indicated that Toyota models are not dangerous products per se, a number of class action and personal lawsuits have been filed to settle the question of whether or not certain vehicles were indeed dangerous and caused harm to a number of affected motorists.
Lawsuits involving large corporations and complex issues of fact often take a great deal of time before they either settle or come to trial. Years after the first sudden acceleration-related harm was allegedly done, the first personal injury suit on this issue is finally set for trial. This suit involves the case of a California woman who was killed in an accident tied to the scandal.
The woman’s story is particularly compelling, given that the 66-year-old was notoriously afraid of driving at high speeds. Partially as a result of this fear, she generally only drove to and from her family restaurant each day, only racking up 10,000 miles on her Toyota Camry over the span of approximately four years. She hit a tree and telephone pole and was killed after her car suddenly accelerated to speeds topping 100 mph while she was driving on a road with a posted speed limit of no more than 30 mph. She crashed despite clear evidence of engaging the brake, swerving to avoid other vehicles and pulling the emergency brake handle.
Years after the scandal first broke, Toyota is only now facing potential personal injury lawsuit liability for its allegedly defective vehicles. Only time will tell how this story will ultimately end.
Source: USAToday.com, “First Toyota sudden acceleration case to begin,” Greg Risling, Associated Press, July 21, 2013