Toyota owners here in New Jersey have likely heard the news of the company's massive settlement that was announced earlier this week. The automaker has decided to pay more than $1 billion to end a lawsuit related to claims of unintended acceleration in its cars. If the agreement is approved, it may be the largest settlement of its kind in U.S. history.
The settlement is not related to the claims of personal injury and wrongful death that have been tied to the acceleration issues, but rather to the loss of value Toyota owners incurred after the company issued recall upon recall because of the safety problems.
Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles due to pedals that stick and floor mats that become entangled with pedals.
There are still many personal injury and wrongful death cases pending against Toyota. Such cases can be filed against automakers when victims of car accidents claim that defective or dangerous aspects of a vehicle are to blame for the accident and subsequent injuries and damages.
The automaker is also facing unfair business practices claims from 28 different state's attorneys general.
The company has also been fined $60 million by the National Highway Safety Administration for neglecting to inform regulators about its knowledge of acceleration problems.
This case is, of course, far larger than average car accident claims, but it nonetheless is an example of how the process of obtaining compensation from negligent parties works after an accident. Often, it is wise to work with an attorney who will strive to come to a settlement agreement outside of court, as this is generally a faster and less expensive process for the victim. However, sometimes it is necessary to go to trial and it is important to be prepared for that.
It is important to hold negligent parties responsible not only so that the victim can obtain compensation for medical expenses and other damages, but also to pursue justice and ensure steps are taken so that the negligent action will not be repeated.
Source: New York Times, "Toyota Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Tied to Accelerations," Bill Vlasic, Dec. 26, 2012
- More information about car accident and personal injury cases is available on our New Jersey civil litigation and appeals law firm's Personal Injury and Wrongful Death page.