People who have been in accidents with defective Toyotas may be able to recover damages against the car manufacturer for their injuries. Many people who have sustained injuries in defective Toyota accidents have already filed lawsuits to recover damages. There are many potential causes of action against Toyota depending on the defect that resulted in the injuries and the nature of the injuries.
For example, some plaintiffs have already filed and other plaintiffs may be able to file the following types of lawsuits:
· Wrongful Death: family members of people who have been killed in Toyota accidents caused by sudden acceleration, brake failure, or any other defect may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The plaintiffs will have to prove that: (1) Toyota owed the deceased a duty of care; (2) the Toyota defects were present because of Toyota’s failure to act like a reasonable car manufacturer would have acted; (3) Toyota’s actions (or inactions) caused the death of their loved one and (4) the plaintiffs have standing to sue and collect damages pursuant to state law.
· Product Liability: car manufacturers, including Toyota, have a responsibility to create safe designs and to manufacture their vehicles according to those designs. If the design of the cars was faulty and led to the defects then Toyota may be liable under a design defect theory of product liability. Likewise, if the design was safe but the cars were not manufactured according to the approved design then Toyota may be liable under a manufacturing defect theory of product liability. Toyota may also be liable under a failure to warn theory of product liability if it knew that its accelerators, brakes, or other vehicle parts were unsafe and failed to warn consumers of known dangers that would not have been obvious to the average consumer.
· Breach of Warranty: Toyota, as a car manufacturer, makes certain warranties or safety claims to consumers who purchase its vehicles. Some lawsuits are alleging that Toyota breached an implied warranty of merchantability and an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose when it sold vehicles that were subject the recall.
· Negligence: people who are hurt in a Toyota crash may be able to recover damages from Toyota if they are able to prove that Toyota’s negligence caused their accident. Specifically, they will have to prove that: (1) Toyota owed them a duty of care; (2) Toyota breached its duty of care by failing to act like a reasonable car manufacturer would have acted; (3) Toyota’s breach of the duty of care caused the accident and resulting injuries which would not have happened but for Toyota’s actions (or inactions); and (4) the plaintiff is entitled to damages.
A plaintiff may be able to collect damages by proving the elements of one or more of the causes of action described above. It is important to carefully consider all of your options if you have been hurt in a Toyota accident and to take legal action as soon as possible and within your state’s applicable statute of limitations for the particular cause of action that you are filing. Given the extensive 2009 and 2010 Toyota recalls, it is likely that more lawsuits will be filed against Toyota in the near future.
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