The Miami Herald recently reported a Potential Settlement of  part of the Toyota Sudden Acceleration Lawsuit.  The potential settlement is now in front of the U.S. District Judge James Selna for review.  The potential settlement calls for a payment from Toyota to exceed $1 Billion over time.  The potential settlement is only for the loss of value of for owners of vehicles similar to those that have documented Toyota Sudden Acceleration problems.  This could resolve hundreds of pending lawsuits where Plaintiffs have alleged that the vehicles they own are worth far less than expected because of the design flaw that caused the problem – simply stated, people are reticent to purchase used vehicles of the same year, make and model that have documented proof of design flaws.  Over 14 million vehicles were recalled due to the Toyota Sudden Acceleration” issue.  This potential settlement will not resolve any of the hundreds of lawsuits involving Toyota Sudden Acceleration that resulted in Personal Injury or Wrongful Death.

As of today, no computer code defects were found by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Toyota has paid substantial fines for not reported known problems in a timely manner.

Terms of the settlement agreement proposal are said to include:

  • A $250 million dollar “reduced value” fund to compensate owners who sold their Toyota between September 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
  • The installation of a “brake override” system that is supposed to cut power to throttle when brake signals and accelerator signals occur at the same time.
  • An additional $250 million dollar fund to compensate current owners that are not eligible for the “brake override” system.
  • A warranty system for current owners that covers certain incidents in the future related to sudden acceleration.
  • $30 million in educational grants to study automobile safety.

One of the Toyota Sudden Acceleration Wrongful Death lawsuits already went to trial in California prior to the consolidation of the cases before Judge Selna.  This case involved an off duty California Highway Patrol Officer and several family members.  The vehicle they were driving accelerated to over 120 miles per hour, hit another vehicle, launched off the highway, and burst into flames.  The case was settled for $10,000,000.00.  Judge Selna divided the cases into 2 catagories – (1) Economic Loss and (2) Wrongful Death.  This current potential settlement only involves the Economic Loss portion.

This appears to be a fantastic job by some very hard working attorneys.  It also appears that another settlement may be on the horizon or there will likely be a trial on the issue to address the many tragic deaths that occurred as a result of the sudden acceleration.

Jeffrey S. Altman is a Miami Wrongful Death Lawyer at The Altman Law Firm.  We represent victims of Personal Injury and Wrongful Death throughout Florida.  Our office is located in Miami with quick and convenient access from North Miami, Miami Shores, North Miami Beach, Aventura and South Beach.  For a Free Consultation call 305.373.3730 or email Mr. Altman at jaltman@altmanlawfirm.com

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