Lawyers working on the $20 million lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp. finished their arguments yesterday in a California courtroom. The case revolves around the 2009 death of Noriko Uno that plaintiff’s attorneys say happened due to a sudden acceleration problem with Uno’s 2006 Camry.
The case has now been handed over to a jury in Los Angeles County and deliberations have officially begun. The jury now faces the task of deciding whether Uno’s death occurred due to negligence on the part of the automaker or from bad driving on the part of the victim.
Accord to accident reports, Uno’s Camry accelerated unexpectedly, heading the wrong way down a one-way street before finally slamming into a telephone pole and then a tree. Uno’s family’s attorney argued that the death occurred because of design flaws in the Camry and due to a lack of a brake override system that was already being used in a variety of other cars.
Toyota’s lead attorney argued that the brake override system would not have prevented the crash that killed Uno. Instead, Toyota argued that the accident occurred because of driver error, with Uno allegedly mistaking the gas pedal for the brake pedal. In fact, Toyota denies that any sudden acceleration took place in the case, despite eyewitness reports that appear to bolster the plaintiff’s claims.
Toyota and plaintiff’s attorneys across the country are eagerly awaiting a verdict in the case. Many expect the case, the first wrongful death action to go to trial related to Toyota’s sudden acceleration issue, to set the direction for hundreds of other similar cases that are pending against the car company.
A somewhat similar case involving a Ford F-150 was decided last week and many have wondered whether the result in that case might give a clue to what will happen in Uno’s case. In the recent Ford case, the company won a lawsuit brought by injured plaintiffs who claimed that the automaker should have included additional safety devices that were not sold with the pickup truck. Plaintiffs in the case pressed down on the gas pedal instead of the brake while exiting a freeway, which caused the F-150 to crash into several other vehicles and a utility pole. The jury deliberated for less than an hour and ultimately rejected the plaintiffs’ claims, saying that the driver caused the accident and that the vehicle contained sufficient safety systems.
If you or someone you know have been injured by a defective product and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact the Georgia product liability litigation attorneys at Pope McGlamry P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.
Source: “Toyota unintended-acceleration lawsuit goes to jury,” by Jerry Hirsch, published at LATimes.com.