Patrick Rall's picture

Toyota pays $10 million for first unintended acceleration case

Yesterday, it was revealed that Toyota Motors has paid a whopping $10 million in the first private suit against the automaker for deaths caused by Toyota’s unintended acceleration issues.

Toyota had initially requested that the settlement amount be kept private to avoid having an impact on future suits but California Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr ruled that the company failed to put together a convincing case… requiring the amount to be made public knowledge. This particular suit was filed by the families of California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, his wife, their daughter and Saylor's brother-in-law. While this first massive payout is likely to set precedent as more of these suits are filed, it will be interesting to see how the company decides to pay future customers who lost family members due to Toyota’s careless recall approach.

Reports as to how many people were killed by Toyota’s unintended acceleration have varied between 80-110 and if the automaker attempts to stick to the price of $2.5 million per death, they could be looking at settlement costs soaring over the $200 million mark. This comes on top of the $48.6 million in federal fines agreed upon thus far for their handling of recall reporting and worst of all; this entire mess that Toyota has created for themselves has badly tarnished their reputation and sales numbers over the past few months have reflected this.

While it is unfortunate that so many people had to lose their lives because of Toyota’s desire to protect their “reputation for quality”, this has taught the automotive industry a valuable lesson – that is it better to err on the side of caution and recall a vehicle rather than cost people their lives and wait until they are forced to issue recalls. Thanks to Toyota, we are now in an era where every automaker is quick to recall a vehicle for anything and everything, causing some people to question the quality of some vehicles but most importantly, this makes the roads safer for all of us.


Other Toyota news:
Toyota's Reputation On The Decline According To Recent Study
Judge rules that Toyota must disclose recall settlement terms
Toyota fined $32.4m more for lethal recall practices
NHTSA confirms recall of 2011 Toyota Sienna

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