A three-judge panel has upheld a jury’s verdict awarding $15.6 million to a driver and passengers of a Toyota minivan. They sustained injuries when the auto malfunctioned and went into a ravine.
The defendant of this auto defects case is Center City Toyota in Pennsylvania, which had serviced the auto. Early on during the civil trial, it tried to settle with the plaintiffs for $1.7 million.
The plaintiffs also had sued Toyota Motor Corp., several Toyota affiliates, and PhillyCarShare, which had rented the vehicle to the plaintiffs, for auto products liability. These defendants were later dismissed from the lawsuit.
Per the complaint, Dr. Noreen Lewis was the driver of the rented minivan. Five of her relatives were passengers. The plaintiffs claim that the brakes failed and the steering wheel locked, causing the vehicle to go off the road and roll down a ravine.
They believe that a ball joint separation caused the van’s steering wheel to lock. They accused CCT of not properly inspecting the auto.
Meantime, the defendant argued that the ball joint was not defective and the car rental company should have told Lewis she should stop driving the minivan once the check engine indicator went off. CCT accused Lewis of speeding.
Lewis sustained bone fractures, a concussion, facial lacerations, heart and lung contusions, muscle rips, and injuries to her vertebrae and disc. Her mother broke her wrist and punctured a lung. Other passengers sustained neck and back pain, as well as broken bones.
Lewis was awarded $11.4 million for her injuries. The rest of the award is for the other passengers.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a traffic crash that you believe was caused by vehicle defects or an auto malfunction, you may have reason to pursue a Boston auto products liability lawsuit from the automaker, the dealer, a car repair company, or an auto rental company that should have repaired the safety problem or ensured that the defect never existed.
In Massachusetts, please contact Altman & Altman, LLP to speak with an experienced Boston car defects attorney.
Just this week, Toyota recalled 1.6 million cars in certain countries. About 759,000 autos made between 2005 and September 2010 were recalled over problems with the autos' fuel delivery pipes. If the fuel were to leak through these pipes, this could create a fire hazard. The other defects involve brake problems.
In the wake of so many recalls this year, automakers have been under closer scrutiny. Already, in 2014, Toyota has issued at least 18 recalls affecting over 5.2 million cars in the U.S. alone.
Going after an automaker can feel daunting, which is why you shouldn’t do this without an experience law firm by your side. There will be many pivotal choices to make that could affect the outcome of your case. You want to make sure you have someone who understands the complexities involved and can help you decide whether to settle or go to court.
$15.6 Mil Verdict Against Toyota Dealerships Upheld, The Legal Intelligencer, October 8, 2014
Toyota Recalls 1.67 Million Vehicles, The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2014
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