Japanese automaker, Toyota, has announced a massive payout to settle class action lawsuits for more than one billion dollars, which will be dished out to more than a million people, in a record settlement.
The claims were that Toyota vehicles suddenly and unintentionally accelerated, according to court filings, made public Wednesday.
According to the LA Times, approximately 105 deaths were blamed on Toyota’s unintentional acceleration.
Toyota maintained from the beginning that their vehicles did not have sudden unintentional acceleration problems and that certainly nothing was wrong with their electronic throttle system. They blamed these claims on stuck gas pedals, stuck floor mats and even blamed operator error for this defect.
This deal amounts to “a landmark, if not a record, settlement in automobile defect class action litigation in the United States,” according to court filings. The settlement will be paid as follows: $400 million to cover extended warranties on components such as engine control nodules; $250 million to owners whose brake systems can’t be updated; $250 million to owners who sold vehicles for lost value; $200 million for attorney fees, pending judge’s approval; $200-400 million to install brake override system in an estimated 3.25 million vehicles.
Some wonder why Toyota is settling now? It is thought that this is a convenient way for them to avoid upcoming court trials where the company would have to release stacks of documents and depositions to the public.
This settlement will not cover injuries and wrongful death claims from around the United States.
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