Since September 2009, Toyota has recalled approximately 9 million vehicles. Of these recalled vehicles, an estimated 8.5 million were recalled due to driver complaints and reports of unintended acceleration. Insurance companies such as Allstate, State Farm, Geico, and others have recently determined to review previous accident claims involving these recalled Toyota vehicles. By reviewing past accident claims, insurers hope to identify those accidents involving recalled Toyota vehicles in which drivers cited sudden acceleration as the cause of the accident. Many of these accidents occurred before insurers were aware of reported defects with Toyota vehicles. The purpose of reviewing previous accident claims is to potentially hold Toyota liable for these accidents where applicable and reimburse drivers for deductibles paid.
Toyota issued recalls for vehicles due to problems involving the vehicle’s floor mats as well as potential mechanical and electrical problems. Because of this recall, insurers have the right to request Toyota reimburse those drivers involved in accidents in which a defective vehicle produced by Toyota was the primary cause of the accident. This is a practice commonly referred to a subrogation. While not all drivers involved in an accident will be reimbursed their deductible through subrogation, drivers involved in minor accidents will likely be reimbursed. Seeking reimbursement for drivers of accidents involving a personal injury due to a defective vehicle would need to be sought through a lawsuit.
Lawsuits that are being filed against Toyota include such claims as class action lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits, and personal injury lawsuits. According to some estimates, Toyota is facing approximately 200 lawsuits currently. In addition to these lawsuits, Toyota is also being fined $16.4 million by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This fine is being levied as a result of Toyota’s attempts to conceal the problems with defective Toyota vehicles. Documents suggest that Toyota was aware of the problem and acted negligently by not revealing these problems to the government or public in a timely manner. While Toyota has announced that it will pay the $16.4 million fine, Toyota could expect to pay millions more to reimburse drivers involved in accidents caused by vehicle defects.
Drivers involved in accidents caused by the sudden acceleration of recalled Toyota vehicles should speak to their insurer about possible reimbursement of their deductibles. If the accident was minor, the insurance company may be able to obtain reimbursement from Toyota through subrogation. If the incident was a major accident that involved a personal injury or wrongful death, a lawsuit may be necessary. In cases such as these, it will be important to speak with an attorney.
If you or a loved one owns one of the affected Toyota models and have experienced problems with sudden unintended acceleration or stuck accelerators, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with automobile recalls. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.