First Acceleration-Linked Wrongful Death Bellwether Case Against Toyota Goes to Trial

ToyotaAcceleration Problems Linked to Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Go to Court with First Bellwether Case

The first lawsuit in a long line of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against Toyota for their notorious acceleration problem is going to trial August 8th.

About 85 personal injury and wrongful death cases have been consolidated in Los Angeles.

The first case was filed by Yasuharu Uno and his son Jeffrey, in the wrongful death of Noriko Uno, Yasuharu’s wife and Jeffrey’s mother. The father and son claim that Toyota is liable for her wrongful death because they did not install a brake override system in the 2006 Camry that Mrs. Uno, 66 at the time, was driving when it suddenly accelerated, sped through oncoming traffic, and hit a tree. Brake override systems make the engine idle when both the gas and brake pedals are hit simultaneously.

According to the family’s attorneys, the fifth-generation Camry, like the model Mrs. Uno drove, had a 400% increase in accidental acceleration problems, compared to other Camrys.

“Toyota knew this,” Garo Mardirossian, the family’s lawyer, said in a court filing.  “Toyota did nothing to remedy this. Rather, it recalled and added brake override to the 2007 Toyota Camry, but left Mrs. Uno’s Toyota Camry on the roadways unsafe and without brake override.”

Toyota has already settled economic loss allegations with US drivers for unintended acceleration problems after the recall of 10 million vehicles in 2009 and 2010, which the manufacturer claimed were related to a faulty floor mat, which could shift out of position and cause the gas pedal to stick.

The Accident That Led to the Wrongful Death Lawsuit

On August 28th, 2009, Noriko Uno was out running errands when her Camry was struck by an elderly driver, who is also a defendant in the case. When the Camry spun after the impact, Mrs. Uno’s foot became stuck between the gas and the brake pedal. Because her vehicle did not have a brake override system, the car accelerated out of control and after half a mile of avoiding oncoming traffic, she hit a tree. She died in the second crash.

Toyota, however, claims it is impossible for Mrs. Uno’s foot to have been lodged between the gas and brake pedals for 30 seconds. There is also no substantial evidence that this supposed event caused the accident.

“Approximately 14 witnesses observed Uno as she traveled in the wrong direction,” Toyota said in its memorandum to the court. “Thirteen witnesses testified they never saw brake lights on the Camry, and the only witness who said she saw brake lights, said she saw the Camry brake lights go on for a second then off, then on and off again.”

The manufacturer claims that the fatal accident occurred because Mrs. Uno unintentionally stepped on the gas rather than the brake pedal. Toyota said that unintended acceleration is almost always the driver’s fault for stepping on the wrong pedal.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Vehicle Recall Wrongful Death Cases

If you have experienced a problem with a defective product in your automobile, especially if a defective part has led to an auto accident, personal injury, or wrongful death, and a proper vehicle recall notice has not been issued, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We can help you with complicated auto insurance claims, and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve to help you with lost income and medical bills. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in South Carolina, Georgia, and New York. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today at (803) 252-4800.

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