Toyota was recently ordered to pay out millions due to a previous lawsuit. The family of a deceased woman filed a wrongful death claim against the motor vehicle company for an accident that occurred back in 2007. Toyota has been faced with lawsuits in West Virginia, and across the country, due to an issue with their acceleration system.
The incident reportedly occurred when a woman was driving her Toyota and it suddenly started to accelerate. She was unable to stop her car and it crashed into a steep hill, killing the passenger and seriously injuring the driver. Reportedly, due to a defect in the electronics system, the car accelerated without command. According to the complaint, Toyota was aware of the defect and neglected to take care of the problem.
The family of the deceased, along with the injured driver, was awarded $3 million. In addition to the initial reimbursement, Toyota is expected to pay an undetermined amount in punitive damages. Toyota will likely have many similar lawsuits coming to them in the near future.
When car accidents are fatal, the responsible party can face civil penalties. In this case, the responsible party was the automaker, who had prior knowledge of their vehicle's dangerous defects. The jury found Toyota to be negligent in a manner that caused or contributed to a death and a serious injury. Families of victims who have been killed due to a faulty system in a Toyota, or any other vehicle, may be entitled to file wrongful death claims against the car companies. The civil court system in West Virginia typically resolves these types of claims by awarding the appropriate monetary damages to the respective parties.
Source: Los Angeles Times, Jury hits Toyota with $3-million verdict in sudden acceleration death case, Ken Bensinger and Jerry Hirsch, Oct. 24, 2013