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Toyota announces it has settled bellwether wrongful death claim

After a fatal car accident here in Michigan, the loved ones of the victim may sue the driver who is at fault for wrongful death. This is a way to hold that person accountable, as well as obtain compensation for funeral expenses, lost source of income, pain and suffering and more. In some cases, however, the wrongful death lawsuit is not focused on a driver, but rather another party--such as a truck company, a municipality or even an automaker.

Toyota Motor Corp. is currently up against hundreds of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits related to allegedly defective and dangerous vehicles with acceleration problems.

In recent years, Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles due to the issues that included floor mats becoming stuck under accelerator pedals and sticky accelerator pedals. In December, the company agreed to pay more than $1 billion to Toyota owners who suffered economic losses due to the recalls. Now, the company has settled a bellwether wrongful death claim related to a fatal car accident caused by the reported defects.

Last week the company announced that it settled a case related to a fatal accident that took place in 2010 when a Toyota Camry slammed into a wall. The families of the two occupants of the vehicle sued Toyota for wrongful death. The terms of the settlement have not been released.

Back in 2010, Toyota had settled an earlier case related to unintended acceleration causing a fatal car accident, but the case settled last week appears to be the first case addressed since all of the current cases were consolidated.

Although the company still has not admitted any problems with its product, it has stated that it is choosing to settle select cases. The future of the hundreds of claims remaining has yet to be determined. Losing a loved one in a fatal accident is a devastating time, and it is important for those affected to be able to seek and obtain justice.

Source: ABC3340.com, "Toyota settles bellwether wrongful death lawsuit," Andrew Dalton, Jan. 17, 2013

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