Federal Jury Orders Toyota To Pay $11M To Victims Of Fatal Crash Involving Sudden Acceleration

A federal jury in Minnesota decided Tuesday that the design of a 1996 Toyota Camry involved in an accident that killed three people and left two seriously injured had a dangerous defect that was partly responsible for the crash, despite the automaker’s claims to the contrary. Toyota now has to pay almost $11 million to the victims.

The $10.94 million award includes about $750,000 for the driver of the car, reports the Associated Press, who’d maintained that he had no control over the sudden acceleration of the vehicle. He was convicted of vehicular manslaughter, but was released in 2010 after reports of sudden acceleration in some Toyotas. Prosecutors opted against a retrial, and he was freed after 2.5 years behind bars.

Jurors said Toyota was 60% to blame for the accident, and noted that the driver was still 40% at fault.

The driver and his family members, the family of a girl who died and two others who were seriously injured sued Toyota Motor Corp., alleging that the crash was caused by a defect in the driver’s car. Toyota argued there was no design defect and that the driver was negligent.

“No amount of money… will bring my life back, my life is not the same anymore,” the driver said after the verdict, adding that he wanted the victims and their families to know that he tried everything he could to stop his car.

During the trial, the driver’s attorney told jurors that a defect in the car’s design could cause the throttle to stick, and when it was tapped or pushed while stuck, it could stick again at a higher speed.

“This is what makes the car go. This is what turns it into a torpedo, a missile, a deadly weapon,” the attorney said during his closing argument.

Toyota released a statement saying it respects the decision but still believes that there’s evidence showing that the vehicle wasn’t at fault. It’s now going to consider its legal options going forward.

Jury: Toyota Must Pay $11M to Victims of Fatal Crash [Associated Press]

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