YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsSudden Acceleration

Sudden Acceleration

January 3, 2011 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Toyota Motor Corp., already facing dozens of lawsuits related to allegations that defects caused its cars to suddenly accelerate and crash, now has to contend with a new legal headache. Seven insurance companies have filed recent lawsuits against Toyota, attempting to recover money paid to cover crashes they blame on sudden acceleration. American Automobile Insurance Co., Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., National Surety Corp., Ameriprise Insurance Co., IDS Property Casualty Insurance Co., Motorists Mutual Insurance Co. and American Hardware Mutual Insurance Co. seek compensatory damages in excess of $230,000 related to 14 crashes throughout the United States.
January 3, 2011 | By Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
In a tactical shift, lawyers suing Toyota Motor Corp. over sudden acceleration are building their cases around the automaker's resistance to installing a brake system that they claim would have prevented deaths and injuries. The emerging legal strategy is centered on Toyota's slow adoption of so-called brake override systems, which attorneys say is the automaker's single biggest vulnerability as it defends itself against more than 100 lawsuits in state and federal courts. Toyota discussed adopting brake overrides with federal safety regulators as early as 2007, documents show.
October 5, 2010 | By Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
Allstate Corp. has sued Toyota Motor Corp. over sudden-acceleration-related claims it has paid, alleging that the accidents were caused by vehicle defects. The suit, filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeks $3 million in compensation for about 270 claims that the insurance giant has paid out since January 2007. It charges that "certain of Toyota's cars and trucks have a defect that causes sudden uncontrolled acceleration to speeds of up to 100 miles per hour or more," as well as "defective electronics and the absence of a fail-safe, such as a brake-to-idle override system.
February 18, 2011 | By Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
Toyota Motor Corp. is using a new NASA study finding no fault with its electronics as evidence that a sudden-acceleration class-action suit against it should be dismissed. In a filing in federal court in Santa Ana this week, the Japanese automaker argued that the study, conducted at the request of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and released Feb. 8, was proof that its vehicles had no defects and that therefore the class-action suit is without merit. "Plaintiffs are chasing a phantom theory of defect that only last week NASA and NHTSA, after an extensive investigation, jointly confirmed does not exist," Toyota outside counsel Lisa Gilford wrote in a motion filed Monday.
September 18, 2010 | Ken Bensinger
Toyota Motor Corp. has quietly settled a high-profile lawsuit over a fatal crash near San Diego last year that drew national attention to sudden acceleration in its vehicles and led to massive recalls and an unprecedented apology from its president. The automaker revealed the settlement in a letter to a California Superior Court judge, but declined to provide any details of the terms, which it is seeking to keep confidential. By getting the case off its growing plate of legal woes, Toyota can focus on an aggressive strategy to fend off lawsuits with less dramatic evidence, many of which point to potential electronic problems in vehicles.
February 7, 2011 | By Ralph Vartabedian and Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
An investigation into sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles by the nation's space agency is expected to report Tuesday that no significant electronic defects have been found, though the issue requires continued monitoring, according to automotive electronics and safety experts. The NASA report was commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after thousands of owners complained that their Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles accelerated unexpectedly, causing dozens of deaths.
September 15, 2010 | By Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
Toyota Motor Corp. has acknowledged that a software bug in the device used to read its black boxes produced faulty data, only months after the automaker touted information from the recorders to suggest that human error caused sudden acceleration. The automaker said it spotted and fixed the problem — which could give incorrect information on speed — in June and that it did not affect readings for pedal and brake application, crucial keys to determining potential causes of sudden acceleration.
April 13, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera and Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — More than 21/2 years after the fatal crash of a Lexus in suburban San Diego led to the recall of millions of Toyota vehicles, federal regulators are taking their most significant step to prevent future vehicles from accelerating out of control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration formally proposed a requirement Thursday that automakers include a brake-throttle override system in all their passenger cars and light trucks to help drivers regain control when a vehicle accelerates suddenly.
April 9, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
Toyota Motor Corp. will recall more than 6 million vehicles worldwide to fix a variety of problems, including a wiring issue that might disable airbags and a glitch that could trigger the driver's seat in some cars to suddenly shift. It's just the latest in a parade of massive recalls by manufacturers this year, especially in the U.S. Toyota's announcement Wednesday brought the number of vehicles called back by automakers in the U.S. to nearly 13 million so far this year, on pace to surpass the record 30.8 million vehicles recalled in 2004.
Los Angeles Times Articles