A recently-filed lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court may be the first of several against Toyota Motor Corporation alleging that sudden uncontrolled acceleration of a Toyota vehicle caused an accident that killed five people. A second such suit arising out of the same car accident has been filed in San Bernardino County.
The accident in question occurred on this past New Years' Eve in Ontario. The car in which the plaintiff was riding was on Vineyard Avenue in Ontario when it was broadsided by a Toyota Solara traveling at a high rate of speed. The Toyota had been traveling east on Interstate 10 when the driver took the Vineyard exit. The driver of the Solara, who has also sued Toyota, said that she rented the vehicle from Avis Rent-A-Car for a trip to Las Vegas. She claims that the Toyota suddenly and inexplicably accelerated to more than 100 mph and that she was unable to stop or slow the vehicle before the collision.
Other parties named as defendants included Avis Rent-A-Car, other Toyota entities, and the driver of the Solara. Toyota denied that the accident was caused by a "vehicle-based issue." Toyota, however, has previously been accused of providing misleading statements about safety issues with its cars. In 2014, Toyota paid a $1.2 billion dollar fine to settle a criminal prosecution by the United States Justice Department involving accusations that it misled consumers concerning safety issues with its cars.
Anyone who has been involved in an accident that may have resulted from automobile malfunction, such as unexpected acceleration, brake failure or exploding airbags, may wish to consult a lawyer who specializes in such cases. An experienced accident lawyer can provide a helpful analysis of the facts of the case and an estimate of the probability of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.
Source: The Press-Enterprise, "HEMET: Suit blames sudden acceleration for fatal crash," Craig Schultz, March 18, 2016