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Toyota continues to settle sudden acceleration lawsuits

Many people in Tennessee and throughout the country are familiar with the ongoing legal troubles facing auto manufacturer Toyota over the last few years due to a number of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits stemming from accidents caused by sudden acceleration.

The company recently settled another wrongful death lawsuit that was going to go to trial this month. The couple died in a car accident after the gas pedal in their Toyota Camry became stuck, causing their car to crash into a wall.

The company has already agreed to pay more than $1 billion in damages in lawsuits filed by Toyota owners due to the sudden acceleration problem. The company blames the problem on floor mats or gas pedals becoming stuck or even driver error, but many attorneys are blaming the problem on the car maker's electronic throttle control system.

During the last four years, more than 14 million Toyota vehicles have been recalled. They were fined late last year by the federal government to the tune of $17.4 million for failing to address the problem quickly enough.

One attorney has speculated that Toyota will keep settling lawsuits because it does not want internal company evidence that it can't defend being exposed in open court. If there are larger problems with Toyota's manufacturing, it may not serve them well to take any lawsuits to trial.

Anyone who has been hurt because of a problem like this, however, has the right to take their lawsuit to trial if they are not satisfied with a settlement offer. Many large companies will try to buy silence with a quick settlement, but victims shouldn't be intimidated if they want the issue to receive more attention.

Source: Associated Press, "Toyota settlement may signal future legal strategy," Greg Risling, Jan. 18, 2013

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