Toyota Settles Acceleration Accident with California Family for $10M

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Los Angeles Times has now confirmed that Toyota has settled with the family of a California Highway Patrol trooper who was killed in a sudden acceleration-accident last year. The terms of the settlement were kept confidential in September, but it has now been revealed that the company settled for $10 million.

Last year, off-duty California Highway Patrol trooper Mark Saylor was driving a Toyota Lexus, a loaner from a local Toyota dealership. In the car were his wife and 13-year-old daughter, as well as his brother-in-law. The car accelerated to high speeds, and crashed, killing all four instantly. Saylor's brother-in-law made frantic calls to 911 for help, and those calls, which were later made public, clearly revealed that Saylor who was driving had been unable to stop or slow down the car. An investigation later that one of the floor mats had jammed the accelerator pedal, causing the car to accelerate suddenly.

The company’s $10 million settlement with the family of Mark Saylor is not huge, and California car accident injury lawyers are familiar with heftier settlements involving auto defect lawsuits.  Meanwhile, the Toyota dealership, Bob Baker Lexus, which had loaned the Lexus to Mark Saylor, is also engaged in litigation with the families.

Toyota is reportedly disappointed that the terms of the settlement have been revealed by Bob Baker Lexus. The company would have preferred that the terms of the settlement remained confidential. Toyota continues to face hundreds of acceleration-related lawsuits. Many of these lawsuits have been consolidated into a single suit in a Santa Ana courtroom. The lawsuit includes more than 200 that were filed against Toyota Motor Sales USA.

Toyota has enough reason to want to keep the $10 million settlement under wraps. The company's losses arising out of personal injury and wrongful death compensation are expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.


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