Seven insurance companies suing Toyota for unintended acceleration accidents
The lawsuits, which include damages in excess of $230 million, pertain to just 14 of the 725 insurance claims allegedly based on accidents that could have been caused by unintended acceleration. The insurance companies involved state that the automaker is responsible for these damages due the fact that they were aware of the unintended acceleration issues yet they failed to equip the vehicles with a proper braking override system.
Needless to say, Toyota claims that they are not at fault for the accidents in question and that any claims against the company have no basis. The insurance companies, however, have 725 cases and access to unlimited case files packed full of information about the faulty Toyota products that caused countless accidents; costing over 100 people their lives. The insurance companies involved in this first suit against Toyota includes the following companies:
American Automobile Insurance Co., Fireman's Fund Insurance, National Surety Corp., Ameriprise Insurance, IDS Property Casualty Insurance, Motorists Mutual Insurance and American Hardware Mutual Insurance
Should these 14 cases prove to be successful and the company is forced to pay the $230 being sought by the insurance companies, that amounts to roughly $16.5 million per individual case – meaning that the 725 cases in question could conceivably cost the company almost $12 billion in a worst-case scenario.
Toyota was worried that litigation against the automaker for unintended acceleration issues could open a can of worms and in the last few months, we have seen several fines handed down against the Japanese automaker. First, the US government slapped Toyota with a fine for $16.4 million followed by a second fine of $32.2 million with rumors of ongoing investigations by the government possibly leading to more fines. Next, the first civil suit against Toyota for wrongful death involving their vehicle and an unintended acceleration case was settled for $10 million and even though the company asked that the amount remain private, a judge decided against the company. There is also speculation that there will be a class action suit brought against the automaker for their negligent recall practices heavily impacting the resale value of their products; which the company is also trying to dispute.
We can expect a great many new cases to be brought against Toyota in the coming months, including more private suits over accidents and lost lives, along with further litigation from insurance companies and the US federal government. In hindsight, it looks like Toyota should have just come clear from the get-go rather than trying to hide their quality control issues that have destroyed their reputation and the lives of many owners.