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Cobb County Car Accident Attorney Discusses Toyota $1.2 Billion Settlement of Criminal Safety Probe

March 28, 2014

Our Atlanta auto accident lawyers recently reported on multiple pending federal investigations of an apparent delay by General Motors (GM) in implementing a recall of vehicles with faulty ignition switches that could cause the vehicles to stall or lose power. In the wake of these investigations, another automaker Toyota Motor Corp has reportedly reached a $1.2 billion settlement to end a four-year criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department regarding its alleged failure to disclose safety issues.

The Justice Department had indicated that Toyota has admitted deceiving consumers by making deceptive statements and concealing information related to two safety issues. The vehicle safety concerns were linked to widespread complaints about certain Toyota vehicles suddenly accelerating uncontrollably. U.S. Attorney Eric Holder said during a briefing on the settlement, "Toyota confronted a public safety emergency as if it were simply a public relations problem."

More than 10 million vehicles were recalled because of unintended acceleration issues involving floor mats, faulty brakes and gas pedals. The recall covered 12 models and constituted the largest recall in Toyota's history. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) expressed concerns that the problems were linked to software issues this was never proven. However, the carmaker did pay $66 million in fines between 2010 through 2012 for delays in disclosing the problem.

In addition to criminal investigations surrounding the unintended acceleration problems, vehicles covered by the recalls were involved in a number of collisions that caused injuries and fatalities. The wave of sudden acceleration accidents spawned hundreds of lawsuits, including a wrongful death lawsuit involving an off-duty California highway patrolman and his family that brought national attention to the issue. The highway patrol officer and several family members were involved in a collision while a member of the family was on the phone with 911 reporting that their vehicle was accelerating out of control. The tragedy ended in a fiery crash that claimed the lives of the officer and several members of his family.

Toyota has already reached a $1.2 billion settlement with owners of vehicles subject to the sudden acceleration recalls who suffered economic losses. The automaker is currently trying to settle 300 cases involving personal injury and wrongful death according to a status report filed in a federal court in California. The company also has indicated that it has reached a settlement in principle with victims in 131 of the cases.

Turning to another manufacturer, GM's tardiness in issuing a recall of its vehicles with faulty ignition switches is a major issue because the defect has been linked to a dozen fatal crashes. The delay also has exposed GM to multiple probes by federal regulators and a number of lawsuits. While both of these situations are ongoing, any manufacturer of a vehicle or other product can face liability for exposing consumers to defective products and ignoring safety issues. If a manufacturer drags its feet in implementing a recall, this also might justify a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the maker of the defective product.

Cobb County Defective Product Lawyers – Seeking Compensation for Accident Victims for More Than 30 Years

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, or you lose someone you love in a crash that might have been caused by a vehicle defect, our experienced Cobb County auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.