Toyota Has Settled Vehicle Recall Lawsuit Brought Forth by Attorneys General in 29 States and American Samoa
Toyota agreed on Thursday, February 14th, to pay $29 million to 29 states, and American Samoa, as part of a settlement regarding complications with vehicle recall notices in 2010.
In 2010, Toyota issued a vehicle recall notice for 14 million vehicles across the world due to automobiles accelerating without warning. The lawsuit, which was brought forth by attorneys general in 29 states, accused Toyota of failing to promptly notify customers about problems with their cars.
The attorneys general investigated, and found poor communication between Toyota’s offices in Japan and the US had contributed to the problem. Toyota agreed to improve communications with the US and give United States executives more power, especially regarding vehicle recall notices within the country.
As part of the settlement agreement, Toyota agreed to put owners’ manuals online, to ensure customers have easy access to vehicle information. They have also agreed, as part of the settlement, it will create a database that will allow customers to look up their Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) to see if their model of automobile is subject to a recall notice, so they can promptly take their car into a dealership for service.
The agreement further states that Toyota will provide $5 million as restitution for customers who had to pay for rental cars, taxis, public transportation, or other methods of transportation as the result of recalls in 2009 and 2010.
Toyota will also be barred from reselling vehicles with alleged safety defects, such as the acceleration problem that led to the vehicle recall notice in 2010. Toyota will need to fix any defects and certify that the car is in working order, then communicate the nature of the problem to potential buyers. Toyota will also be unable to resell vehicles acquired through states’ “lemon laws” as “Toyota Certified Used Vehicles.”
Finally, Toyota has agreed to expand its rapid response teams, which will respond within 24 hours to reported safety issues, especially when the reports come from customers.
Toyota has accepted the agreement, and a spokesperson for the company said they are pleased with the way the suit turned out.
“Resolving this inquiry is another step we are taking to turn the page on legacy issues from Toyota‟s past recalls in a way that benefits our customers,” says Toyota General Counsel Christopher Reynolds.
States participating in the settlement also included Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Also included was a territory, American Samoa.
Vehicle Recall Problems in 2010 Led to Lawsuit
Toyota initially blamed vehicle recalls on sticky gas pedals, slippery floor mats, and even driver error. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as NASA investigated the problem with Toyota’s recalled vehicles and agreed that the issue was not electronic.
However, Toyota has paid more than $1 billion in personal settlement claims related to vehicle recall notices. They also paid a $17.4 million fine to the United States government for failure to properly report safety problems.
Toyota continues to negotiate settlement claims with individuals, including one last month with the families of two victims of the acceleration problem. The two victims were killed in an accident in 2010 when their Toyota Camry slammed into a wall.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Vehicle Recall Claims
To protect yourself and your family, it’s important to know what products have been recalled because they are defective or unsafe. Federal agencies such as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) frequently issue recalls for medical devices, drugs, and products that may be harmful to consumers.
If you have experienced a problem with a defective product in your automobile, especially if a defective part has led to an auto accident or personal injury, 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.