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Vehicular defects: The battle against Toyota continues

Toyota continues to be under the legal microscope for vehicle defects.
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    December 17, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A couple of years back, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) closed a lengthy study that purportedly confirmed that computer-related issues were not the cause of well-known Toyota speeding defects. Specifically, Toyota vehicles had exhibited operational defects, which caused the cars to speed up unexpectedly. NHTSA worked with engineers from NASA, who tested vehicles diligently. The research determined that there is no electronic-based reason for unexpected acceleration issues in the vehicles.

However, in October 2013, the assertions of the research were questioned. Specifically, a state court determined that computerized software in the electronic throttle system of an eight-year-old Toyota was designed defectively. According to the court, this defective product ultimately caused an accident in 2007, which injured a 76-year-old motorist and claimed the life of a passenger.

Two weeks before the verdict, a federal judge ruled on a similar design-defect trial against the company. In that case, the motorist, 83, sustained injuries in a 2009 accident. This suit will help pave the way for several other claims against the motor company.

Representatives of Toyota are probably frustrated with the fact that they are neck deep in legal battles several years after initial complaints about the acceleration problem. Moreover, since complaints have surfaced, the company's share has plummeted from 18 percent to 13 percent, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

One might ask why the manufacturer is fighting the pending suits, which claim there is a computer software issue within the cars' auto parts that causes vehicles to accelerate -- especially after scientists from NASA have cleared Toyota's electronic system. This is because U.S. District Court Judge James Selna will continue to allow evidence about the software in the pending case involving the 83-year-old motorist.

Despite the fact that NASA experts cannot seem to link the acceleration issue to the electric software, the judge believes that a lay jury should determine whether or not the software is defective. They could infer such issue from circumstantial evidence. Of course, in that trial, Toyota will have the opportunity to present the NASA research. However, the plaintiff's attorney could challenge the evidence in a number of ways.

Since the acceleration issue has surfaced, the car company has recalled several million vehicles. The recalls have generated a number of suits moving forward.

If you have been injured in a serious accident as a result of what appears to be a vehicular defect, you should consult an experienced personal injury law attorney. As a consumer, you should be able to trust that products and vehicles on the market are safe to use. If a design, warning or manufacturing defect has compromised your well-being, you may be entitled to recovery.

Article provided by Menges & McLaughlin, P.C.
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