A settlement has been reached between Toyota Motor Corporation and the family of a California state trooper and three relatives who were killed in 2009. The automobile accident occurred as a result of uncontrolled acceleration in a Lexus, and has since led to many Toyota recalls for sudden acceleration problems.
The Lexus accelerated to at least 120 miles per hour before it slammed into another vehicle and careened off an embankment. The driver, California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, called 9-1-1 from inside the vehicle as it was accelerating. The accident and the call spread to news media outlets across the country. In a failed attempt to stop the vehicle, Saylor stood on the brakes as witnesses also watched the wheels of the car burst into flames. The car was also carrying Saylor’s wife, 13-year-old daughter, and his wife’s brother.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration investigated the accident. They concluded that other factors besides the uncontrollable acceleration may have played into the accident. The floor mats were not those made for a Lexus ES350. Instead, they were thick, all-weather mats designed for an RX400h. Since these mats were unable to be secured to the floor properly, they would jam the acceleration pedal into the throttle-open position. The investigators also found that the braking system was already worn before the accident. When the throttle was fully opened, the braking system lost power-assist. If the gas pedal were to get stuck, the hinge was not manufactured in such a way that it was easy to pivot and get it unstuck.
The Lexus had a push-button starting system, which had to be held down for three seconds before the engine would shut down. However, Saylor probably did not know about this safety feature.
One month after the accident, on September 29, 2009, Toyota announced a floor mat recall, thus impacting 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The recalled cars were those that contained a floor mat on the driver’s side that could not be secured properly and could cause the accelerator to stick.
However, Toyota later recalled even more vehicles when accelerators were sticking even without the floor mats. Dozens of accidents as well as serious and fatal personal injury claims have been filed in association with the Toyota gas pedal issues. Hundreds of liability lawsuits, wrongful death claims, and class-action lawsuits have also been filed.
In April of this year, all federal Toyota lawsuits pertaining to the sudden acceleration of the vehicle were consolidated and centralized in either the U.S. District Court or the Central District of California. These cases were seen as part of a multidistrict litigation, and the number of federal lawsuits totaled about 228, as well as nearly 100 more that were pending nationwide.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured due to a faulty Toyota vehicle, contact our attorneys. We are caring, experienced, and knowledgeable in the lawsuits surrounding Toyota Motor Corporation. We will work to get you the financial compensation you deserve for medical expenses, as well as any pain and suffering you are experiencing due to an automobile accident caused by uncontrollable acceleration.