Toyota Ordered To Pay $12 Million In Wrongful Death Case

After battling for five years, the family of a teenager who died in a car crash has finally obtained compensation for the death of their loved one.

Teen Trapped In SUV For Two Hours

the front of a toyotaOn September 15th, 2012, a 17-year-old high school senior was driving down a straight road at 11 a.m. in the sunshine when the unexpected happened – the left rear axle snapped. This fracture caused the left rear wheel to detach and the SUV to roll. The roll caused the vehicle to hit a utility pole. She was seriously injured but may have survived with immediate medical treatment, however, she was trapped in the vehicle for two hours and died as a result.

In 2013, her family filed a lawsuit against Toyota, alleging that the company knew or should have known that the axles on the Toyota 4-Runner the teen was driving were prone to fracturing.

Why Should Toyota Have Known About A Possible Defect?

It can be very difficult to prove that a defendant should have known about something, however, by performing a careful investigation, the evidence can be discovered.

According to the plaintiffs, records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that there were 19 documented rear axle fractures in Toyota 4-Runners from 1987 – 2011 and eleven of those were the same generation as the vehicle being driven by the teen. In addition to this, a letter was submitted by a woman who had two Toyota 4-Runners over the years – both of which were involved in accidents when the rear axle snapped. According to her written testimony, she requested that Toyota investigate the matter to determine if other drivers had experienced the same issue.

After listening to both sides in court a jury determined that Toyota was at fault and awarded the loved ones of the deceased $12 million – $6 million for the conscious pain and suffering of the teen and $6 million for wrongful death.

If A Car Is Recalled Can Victims Still Sue?

Yes. It’s important for all auto manufacturers to not only test their products for potential defects but to also keep records regarding any reports of product failures so that the people who purchase their vehicles are kept safe. For example, Ford recently issued a recall on all Fusions because of a steering wheel bolt issue which causes the steering wheel to detach while the driver is operating the vehicle.

Even if an issue has been recalled those who have been hurt by a defective automobile can still file a lawsuit. Just because a manufacturer acknowledges that an issue exists doesn’t mean it prevents them from being liable.

How Do I Know If A Car Defect Caused My Accident?

There are many causes of car accidents, such as:

  • drunk drivingtoyota symbol
  • texting
  • eating and drinking
  • talking on the phone
  • grooming
  • driving while fatigued

Often the cause of the accident is immediately clear but sometimes it isn’t and an investigation needs to be performed, including a full examination of the vehicles involved. Typically this is when it is discovered that a defective part caused the crash.

You don’t need to work through the investigation on your own. When you work with an attorney not only will they consult with auto industry experts about the findings of the exam but they will also search legal records to look for instances where others were hurt because of the same defect.

Why Should I Choose The Lawyers At Banville Law?

At Banville Law, we recognize how important it is to choose a lawyer that you feel comfortable with. We encourage you to speak with several law firms before choosing one.

If you decide that Banville Law best suits your needs, we will do everything we can to make the legal process an easy one for you. Our legal team will aggressively fight for the maximum compensation possible in your case and we will help you prepare for all possible outcomes. Contact us today to learn more.

By | 2018-06-06T10:13:46+00:00 June 6th, 2018|Car / Auto Accidents|

About the Author:

Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.

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