You may have heard about the more than $1 billion settlement Toyota offered to resolve lawsuits against it related to acceleration problems suffered by vehicles in the 2001 to 2010 model years.
If you were involved in a car accident you think might have been caused by this acceleration problem, you might be wondering whether this settlement applies to you.
What the Settlement Covers
The settlement, announced on December 26, resolves a class action lawsuit by Toyota owners that allegations that Toyota made defective vehicles decreased the value of the vehicles for owners and lessees. The class action also alleged that damage to the brand’s reputation and the reputation of involved vehicles was worsened by statements and actions made by Toyota and its executives.
Toyota notes that it was hard for the company to agree to such a settlement when they did not believe there was any scientific evidence proving a defect actually existed. The company’s press release spun the settlement as a way the company is trying to look out for its customers.
What the Settlement Does Not Cover
Toyota’s settlement agreement announced on December 26 does not include any compensation for victims of accidents that are claimed to be related to the safety defect. Toyota still disputes defective vehicle claims, and is fighting them in court. There are about 200 such lawsuits, many of which are scheduled for trial, after failed attempts by Toyota to have them dismissed.
The first trial related to the purported acceleration defect is scheduled for early 2013. It involves the case of a man who was killed and his wife and son injured when his 2008 Toyota Camry collided with a rock wall. According to the testimony of the wife, he was stepping on the brake pedal when the accident occurred.