LOS ANGELES — Noriko Uno, 66-year-old bookkeeper, never drove fast and always try to avoid passing the freeway. She took the same safe route every day coming to her Upland home to her family-owned sushi restaurant. In fact, for the past four years, her Camry 2006 had only traveled 10,000 miles.
One day when her car suddenly speed up to 100 mph on a street with a legal limit of 30, Uno did everything to slow down, by stepping on the brake pedal and pulling the emergency brake handle as she tried to avoid hitting other vehicles.
When her car ran across a median, hit a telephone pole and strike a tree, Uno was killed.
The was the first case referred to as bellwether that will be on trial to determine whether Toyota Car Makers are held liable for acceleration defects in their cars. So many claims have been filed by motorists against the automaker. The car manufacturer is now facing lawsuits, settlements and recalls of millions of its cars and SUVs.
Toyota claimed that there was no defect in Uno’s Camry. The car maker blamed these kinds of crashes on faulty accelerators that got stuck or floor mats that trapped the gas pedal or driver’s error. The company has already been making settlement of wrongful death cases and had paid more than billions to resolve lawsuits from victims. Due to complaints, Toyota had recalled the Camry due to sudden-acceleration concerns.
More than 80 similar cases have been filed in state courts. Toyota has denied all allegations while neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor NASA found evidence of electronic problems. Uno trial is scheduled for November.
The trial of the Uno case will probably investigate why the manufacturer did not install a mechanism that overrides the accelerator or when the both brake pedals and gas are pressed at the same time in the Camry cars marketed in the U.S. But Toyota installed an override system of the brake in its cars in Europe.
Toyota claimed that Uno’s vehicle had a “state-of-the-art” braking system and denied of any defect in the car that played a role in her death.
Two years ago, Toyota was successful in the court when a federal jury in New York absolved the automaker of any responsibility of a 2005 crash that the driver blamed on the floor mats or defects with the electronic throttle system.
On the 28th of Aug. 2009, CHP Officer Mark Saylor, who was off-duty, and his family members died at the San Diego suburban freeway when his Lexus 2009 ES 35 ran at a speed of more than 120 MPH. It struck a sport utility vehicle, launched off an embankment, rolled several times and burst into flames.
Toyota, maker of the luxury Lexus brand, settled a lawsuit filed by the victims’ family for and amount of $10 million. The Uno family lawsuit was claiming product liability and negligence and seeks for general and punitive damages. Uno’s relatives wanted to have a jury decide that the crash was not her fault.
Accident victims have rights. If you were injured in a car accident, contact an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer now for free consultation. He will protect the rights of you and your loved ones. You may be entitled to financial compensation for economic damages, as well as pain and suffering.
Source: ABC Local Go Com