A settlement means Toyota may not have wanted the public to judge evidence that was gathered in the lawsuits.
(PRWEB) January 25, 2013
Toyota’s decision to settle numerous lawsuits related to cars that experienced sudden and unintended acceleration may signal that the automaker doesn't want to risk coming out on the losing end of a potentially costly court decision, reported ABC News. This is a new direction in legal strategy, said West Palm Beach injury lawyer Gary Iscoe.
According to the the Washington Post, the company settled its first lawsuit with the family of two people killed in a sudden-acceleration crash in Utah. In this “bellwether” case, the Utah Highway Patrol concluded that the gas pedal was stuck after the couple’s Camry had slammed into a wall.
The case was earmarked as a test case with an outcome that would help predict the potential outcome of similar lawsuits. Hundreds of others lawsuits are pending.
“A settlement means Toyota may not have wanted the public to judge evidence that was gathered in the lawsuits,” said Iscoe, a founding partner of Steinger, Iscoe & Greene. “When you take a case to trial, the court documents become a public record.”
Other Toyota lawsuits were resolved for a total of more than $1 billion. These lawsuits mainly involved economic loss from devalued cars.
ABC reported that the settlements may signal that Toyota has decided that settling certain types of lawsuits is less costly for the company’s public image than a court decision.
According to Toyota, faulty floor mats, stuck accelerator pedals, and driver error are to blame for the sudden acceleration issue. Plaintiffs' lawyers blame Toyota's electronic throttle control system.
Toyota recalled more than 14 million vehicles to deal with the claims. A second bellwether trial is scheduled for later this year, but a resolution may be made before then.
“Sudden acceleration accidents have killed or injured a number of people,” said Iscoe. “Large corporations, like Toyota, pay defense lawyers a lot of money to protect their interests. This is why it is so important for victims or their families to get an injury lawyer on their side who is committed to fighting for their rights."
Toyota Motor Corporation’s sudden acceleration lawsuit is Shirlene Van Alfen et al v. Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc et al, U.S. District Court in Santa Ana case number 2:2011cv08120.
About Steinger, Iscoe & Greene:
Steinger, Iscoe & Greene is a proven legal team whose number one goal is to get South Florida injury victims every dollar they truly deserve. Since 1997, the firm’s lawyers have successfully handled cases that have included: auto accidents, bicycle accidents, birth injuries and medical malpractice. The entire legal team is committed to representing and fighting for injury victims’ best interests, giving each client insight into Florida law and their rights.
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