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Toyota wrongful death lawsuits proceed

Following up on a prior post on this blog, Toyota is in the process of settling many wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits involving the reported unintended acceleration of certain Toyota vehicles. One wrongful death lawsuit involved the death of a California High Patrol officer and three of his family members.

In that lawsuit, the car they were driving apparently reached speeds of 120 miles per hour, eventually struck an SUV, and then went down an embankment before bursting into flames. In that case, it was believed that the accelerator was caught up in a wrong-sized floor mat, and that the driver was unable to slow the vehicle down.

As in many wrongful death suits, the attorneys for Toyota have often blamed the victims of the crashes for what had occurred. However, the number of cases in which unintended acceleration was alleged began to multiply.

Seeing that Toyota already at one point settled a wrongful death lawsuit involving this acceleration problem for $10 million, a number of current cases were consolidated in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. They also settled hundreds of cases involving economic losses for more than $1 billion.

When speaking about the amount of money that is being thrown around here, it's best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before signing any kind of settlement agreement. Especially when speaking of consolidation of actions, the wrongful death actions of these kinds can often become legally complex.

Family members of victims are not always in a position to judge whether a settlement offered is or is not reasonable with regards to their individual circumstances.

Source: USA Today, "Toyota settles first wrongful death lawsuit," Jan. 18, 2013

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