Toyota Loses Unintended Acceleration Claim – Victims Awarded $3 Million

Toyota Motor Corp. was ordered to pay $3 million in an Oklahoma case claiming a defect in a Camry caused the vehicle to unintentionally accelerate, leading to an accident that left one woman dead and another injured.According to the plaintiffs’ attorney, the jury awarded $1.5 million for each claim. The jury found the Camry’s electronic system was defective and Toyota acted with “reckless” disregard. A settlement regarding punitive damages has been reach, but the amount has not been disclosed.

According to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, the 2005 Camry driven by Jean Bookout, then 76, sped out of control as she was exiting from an Oklahoma highway in September 2007. Bookout couldn’t stop the car and it crashed, injuring her and killing her passenger and friend, Barbara Schwarz, 70. Toyota denied there were any defects in Bookout’s Camry, however the jury rejected Toyota’s defense. The lawsuit is one of several hundred claims filed against Toyota in state and federal courts in the U.S. contending that the company’s vehicles can inadvertently accelerate. The Bookout case is the first test of a claim that the vehicles’ electronic throttle-control system is at fault.

Toyota recalled more than 10 million vehicles for problems related to unintended acceleration in 2009 and 2010. The first recall was related to a defect that may cause floor mats to jam accelerator pedals. Toyota later recalled vehicles over defects involving the pedals themselves. The recalls led to lawsuits claiming that defects harmed the value of Toyota vehicles or caused accidents leading to death and injury. Toyota settled suits claiming economic losses for about $1.6 billion. Bookout’s Camry was not one of the recalled vehicles.

Other lawsuits claim that reports of unintended acceleration increased after Toyota began to equip vehicles with its ETCS-i system, in which the engine’s throttle is controlled electronically, instead of mechanically.Electronic signals are sent from a sensor that detects how far the gas pedal is pressed to a computer module that opens and closes the throttle.The lawsuits claim that outside electronic signals can trigger the throttle and that the brakes can’t stop the surging car. Toyota has disputed any flaws in the electronic throttle.

If you have a question regarding your Toyota or any unintended acceleration claims, you should contact the experienced lemon law attorneys at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center or call 1-800-US-LEMON (800-875-3666), toll free. Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center has been effectively assisting Toyota customers in Lemon Law claims involving various defects in all makes and models. Our lemon law attorneys will take time to talk to you about your rights and will let you know if they can help.

Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center ®was founded in 1995 and has helped over 45,000 consumers nationwide enforce their rights against manufacturers of defective consumer products.

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