On Wednesday, March 19, the U.S. government announced a massive $1.2 billion settlement with Toyota for failing to disclose safety problems about its vehicles. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx also announced criminal charges filed against the auto company, including allegations that Toyota defrauded consumers by releasing misleading statements about safety issues in Toyota and Lexus vehicles.
The settlement – the largest penalty of its kind imposed on an auto company – stems from a lengthy criminal investigation into Toyota's disclosure of safety problems involving unintended acceleration. According to officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, Toyota admitted to misleading consumers and federal regulators about having addressed acceleration problems. Unintended acceleration defects in Toyota and Lexus vehicles garnered national attention after a family of four was killed in a San Diego car accident in 2009.
Although Toyota issued a limited safety recall of certain vehicle models after the crash, it was revealed that the company knew the same problems existed in other unrecalled models. Toyota also made efforts to conceal a separate acceleration problem involving faulty pedals. Toyota's handling of the situation, Attorney Holder stated during the news conference, was to address a serious public safety emergency as if it were a public relations problem.
Holding Corporations Accountable
The $1.2 penalty sends a clear message to auto manufacturers and other companies that make goods available to the public to ensure that products are safe for their intended use and to address safety issues immediately. When companies fail to do so, they place consumers at risk of suffering preventable harm – physically, financially, or emotionally. For their failures to properly address safety risks, Toyota has been forced to pay millions in fines, more than $1 billion to resolve hundreds of lawsuits from vehicle owners who suffered economic damages due to recalls, and still has many personal injury and wrongful death suits to resolve across the county.
At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, our South Carolina personal injury lawyers are passionate about fighting on behalf of victims and families who suffered damages through no fault of their own. Because our legal team is equipped with extensive experience and an unwavering commitment to our clients, we are capable of fighting back against powerful insurance companies and corporations, especially in cases involving defective products and car accidents.
For more information about Toyota settlement, defective auto parts, and filing a personal injury claim with the help of our legal team, call 888-612-7001 for a FREE case review.