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Holding an Automaker Liable for Wrongful Death

Can I sue an automaker for wrongful death?

Toyota defects attorneys know that when in automaker has to issue an auto recall, potentially impacting millions of vehicles, it’s going to cost the company a substantial amount of money. But when the safety of the public is at risk, it’s a cost that must be incurred.

Unfortunately, Toyota’s failure to issue an auto recall on a particular 1999 Toyota 4Runner ended up costing the auto manufacturer $12 million in a lawful death lawsuit.

The parents of a South Carolina teenager who was killed when her 1999 Toyota 4Runner crashed alleged in a wrongful death lawsuit that the manufacturer was responsible for the death. The reasoning cited was that Toyota knew or should have known that the 4Runner vehicle is subject to defective rear axles breaking and detaching while driving and despite knowing, it did not issue a recall.

Notably, the parents alleged that Toyota did issue a “recall on trucks with similar frame for rust issue” but not the 4Runner, possibly because only injuries but no deaths were reported prior to their daughter’s death. Further, the lawsuit alleges Toyota had received 31 rear axle fracture reports prior to the date the 4Runner in question was even manufactured—yet it continued to manufacture 4Runners with the allegedly defective rear axle frame.

Reportedly, in the 12 years before and the 12 years after the plaintiffs’ 1999 4Runner was manufactured, 60 rear axle complaints incidents occurred including “16 crashes and 19 injuries”, with seven rollover crashes reported similar to the one that killed the South Carolina girl.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the closest surviving family members of a victim who dies from injuries sustained in an accident that was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions of another person or entity may be entitled to compensatory damages. In the instant action, $6 million was awarded for the victim’s pain and suffering and $6 million was awarded damages for her parents.

If you have questions regarding an auto recall, breach of warranty claim, or if feel you may be driving a lemon because your relatively new car is always in the shop for the same stubborn repair, the Law Office of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you.

Depending on the nature of your problem, you may be entitled to a full refund of your down payment, trade-in, monthly payments and taxes, or a brand-new car or a cash settlement. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Experiencing Similar Issues?

If your car was manufactured between 2018 and 2023 we may be able to help. Contact us for more information.