Noriko Uno’s case is the first so-called “bellwether” case to head to trial that could dictate whether Toyota Motor Corp. will be held liable for its vehicles suddenly and unintentionally accelerating. Uno feared driving her 2006 Toyota Camry too fast and often avoided the highway, travelling on city streets to and from work every day. In four years, Uno had only put 10,000 miles on her vehicle. It was one unfortunate, tragic day that the sixty-six-year-old bookkeeper lost the ability to keep her car under the posted speed limit of 30 mph. Her car unexpectedly accelerated and reached speeds up to 100 mph. She tried everything she could to slow down, slamming down on the brake pedal and even pulling the emergency brake handle while she swerved to avoid crashing into other vehicles. Uno was ultimately killed when her vehicle travelled onto a median and crashed into a telephone pole and a tree.
Uno is not the only individual who faced the unexpected acceleration issue with a Toyota vehicle. This claim was led to a number of lawsuits, settlements, and the recall of millions of Toyota automobiles. According to Garo Mardirossian, the attorney representing Uno’s husband and son, “Toyota decided to make safety an option instead of a standard on their vehicles. They decided to save a few bucks, and by doing so, it cost lives.” Toyota claims that Uno’s Camry suffered from no defects. The company has blamed Uno’s and other similar accidents on accelerators that got stuck, driver error, and floor mats that trapped the gas pedal. Toyota has settled some wrongful death lawsuits and has agreed to pay over $1 billion to owners who argue that the value of their Toyota vehicles has plummeted due to massive recalls involving the sudden-acceleration issue.
Currently, there are more than eighty cases that have been filed in state courts that are similar to Uno’s case. There have also been federal lawsuits where plaintiffs claim that Toyota’s electronic throttle control system was defective and caused unexpected surging in vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NASA failed to find any evidence of electronic problems in the vehicles and Toyota has denied the allegation. The Uno trial will likely revolve around the issue of why Toyota did not equip its U.S.-sold Camrys with a mechanism to override the accelerator if the brake and gas pedals are pressed simultaneously. The company did equip its European-sold vehicles with the override system.
Toyota sudden acceleration case set to begin in CA, www.miamiherald.com July 21, 2013
Braking and acceleration systems are a vital part of a safe vehicle and, unfortunately, consumers are often unaware of problems with these systems until it is too late. Severe injuries or death can occur when a car unexpectedly accelerates and the driver is unable to effectively employ the brake to bring the vehicle back down to a safe speed. This is why it is crucial that consumers are alerted to defects in their vehicles as soon as possible. The Coral Gables consumer advocates at the Friedland Law Group are automobile accident lawyers who have over twenty years of experience helping clients recover for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in an unsafe vehicle or any other type of motor vehicle accident, call the Miami personal injury attorneys at the Friedland Law Group today. Don’t hesitate as the law places strict time limits on these types of claims! Call (305) 661-2008 today for your free consultation.
The Miami product liability lawyers at the Friedland Law Group handle all types of motor vehicle accidents throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The Friedland Law Group handles all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death, defective products, medical malpractice, slip and falls and construction site injuries.