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More Insurance Lawsuits Filed Against Toyota Over Acceleration Accidents

  • Written by: Staff Writers
  • 3 Comments

Seven more insurance companies have followed Allstate in filing a lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp. to recover damages they paid out for auto accidents allegedly caused by sudden, unintended acceleration. 

The Toyota sudden acceleration lawsuits were filed on December 30 in Los Angeles Superior Court by American Automobile Insurance Co., Ameriprise Insurance Co., American Hardware Mutual Insurance Co., Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., IDS Property Casualty Insurance Co. Motorists Mutual Insurance Co., and National Surety Corp. The complaints seek a combined total of $230,000 in damages resulting from Toyota vehicles that accelerated out of the drivers’ control.

In October, Allstate Insurance Co. was the first carrier to sue Toyota over covering similar accidents. Allstate is seeking $3 million in compensation for covering property damage, personal injury claims and fatalities related to about 270 crashes it had to pay. Toyota officials sought to downplay the claims and characterized the lawsuits as a common dispute between automakers and insurance companies

According to the most recent claims, problems with unintended acceleration involving Toyota and Lexus vehicles resulted in at least 725 automobile accidents. The insurance companies say that Toyota should have installed an override system that put the vehicles into idle when both the brake and the accelerator were depressed at the same time.

The filings came just days after it was revealed that Toyota reached a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit settlement with the family of California state trooper Mark Saylor, his wife, daughter and brother-in-law; all of whom died in an August 2009 crash when the Lexus ES350 Saylor was driving accelerated out of control. During the accident, the Lexus accelerated to speeds as high as 120 m.p.h. before slamming into another vehicle and careening off an embankment. The accident gained national media attention as a result of a 9-1-1 call placed from inside the vehicle while it was accelerating out of control. In addition, witnesses reported that the car’s wheels burst into flames as Mark Saylor stood on the brakes in an attempt to stop the vehicle.

Approximately one month after the accident, on September 29, Toyota announced a floor mat recall impacting 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles that contained a certain type of floor mat on the driver’s side that could cause the accelerator to stick. Expansions and additional recalls eventually resulted in about 8.5 million Toyota or Lexus vehicles being recalled due to acceleration problems.

Days before the amount of the settlement was released, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Toyota was being fined $32.4 million as the result of two federal investigations into how it handled unintended acceleration recalls and steering rod defects. Government investigators say the company stalled on the recalls and failed to notify federal safety officials about the problems in a timely manner. The fines are the maximum allowed by law.

About 400 Toyota personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits have been centralized and consolidated under Judge James V. Selna for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Santa Ana as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). All of the lawsuits contain allegations that drivers or passengers experienced an injury or death after their Toyota vehicles accelerated unexpectedly out of control.

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielctw/ / CC BY 2.0

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3 comments

  1. Deneane Reply

    My father was killed in his 1994 Toyota Camry in May of 2000. My brother in law was in the car with my father he survived. He always said that the car accelerated and that my father couldn’t stop along with another witness. In the police report they said that my brother in law stated that my father wasn’t paying attention. He said he never made comment or talked with anyone he was in shock he could belleve what just happened he said that my father said the car want stop in a panic while he was hitting on brakes. Since the accident my brother in law can’t sleep he can see my father trying to stop the car his been on disability. Can some help point me in the right direction I read the story in usa today about other families that’s in the same situation What can I do?

  2. Barbara Reply

    8-19-2011 10:20AM

    I had just left my apartment to go to a medical appointment. I got into my car, which was parked in the secured garage in the basement of my apartment. I started my car but had to wait to back up because another car was leaving just before me. As soon as the other vehicle went through the opening of the garage, I backed out of my parking stall. I then put my foot on the brake and shifted from reverse to drive. As soon as I shifted into drive the car went into full throttle. I catapulted forward. I pulled the steering wheel to the left as hard as I could because I was headed toward the concrete wall (south wall of the garage). I hit the wall with the right front corner of my car. Because the engine was going full throttle I was literally bounced off of the south wall and headed towards the east wall of the garage. Still going full throttle I crashed into my neighbor’s motorcycle which was parked parallel to the east wall. The car stopped, the full throttle of the engine stopped and I was able to turn off the ignition. I promptly got out of the car, did an assessment on injuries and walked around the car to assess damage. I then called my husband to advise him of the accident. He met me in the garage approximately five minutes later, asked if I was OK, assessed the damage to our car and our neighbor’s motorcycle and called the insurance company.

    If I hadn’t pulled the steering wheel to the left I would have shot out of the garage, across a busy street and sidewalk with quite a bit of pedestrian traffic and into the cyclone fence of the neighboring apartment. The parking for the adjoining apartment is just on the other side of the cyclone fence and there were quite a few cars parked there even though it was a weekday.

  3. d. lowery Reply

    I had a toyota corolla 2005 and was sitting at a red light when glancing in my rear view mirror i saw someone frantically trying to stop her car from plowing into the back of my car. the driver said the car took off by itself. her insurance company took care of most of my expenses but i had to pay out money because my car was totalled. i feel its unfair that people who are impacted by the issue of toyota should not be compensated. the vehicle that hit me was a 2012 or 2011 toyota corolla.

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