Toyota must pay $3 Million for fatal crash due to sudden acceleration of Camry

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by Jay Pate

An Oklahoma City jury has found that electronic defects in a Toyota Camry caused it to accelerate out of control and crash into a wall, killing a passenger and seriously injuring the driver. The jury awarded $3 million in damages and will separately consider whether to award any punitive damages against Toyota.

In 2007, Jean Bookout was exiting from an Oklahoma highway in her 2005 Toyota Camry when the vehicle suddenly sped out of control. She was unable to stop the car and it crashed, injuring her and killing her passenger and friend, Barbara Schwarz. Bookout and the family of Barbara Schwarz sued Toyota. The jury has now awarded $1.5 million for each claim.

Alleging that the vehicle’s electronic throttle-control system was defective. Bookout alleged she could not prevent her sedan from accelerating through an intersection and crashing into an embankment. The plaintiffs claimed that Toyota had long been aware of problems in the electronic throttle system in Camrys and did not move to correct them.

The lawsuit is one of hundreds that have been filed against Toyota in courts around the county alleging Toyota vehicles can inadvertently accelerate. The Oklahoma case was the first trial of claims blaming a flaw in the vehicles’ electronic throttle-control system.

The next case against Toyota to go to trial may be claims by the family of Ida Starr St. John. That case alleges that St. John’s 2005 Toyota Camry accelerated out of control and caused her to smash into a school in Georgia. The lawsuit alleges that faulty electronics caused the Camry to accelerate wildly.

Car and truck manufacturers have a duty to build a car that is as safe as is reasonably possible under the present state of mechanical technology, vehicle design, and safety. Manufacturers are obligated to design vehicles so that they are safe for any reasonably foreseeable use.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident, it may well be that the injuries were caused or made worse because the vehicle was not properly designed or manufactured. In order to determine whether you may have a case, you need to retain experienced, qualified legal counsel at the earliest opportunity.

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have the experience, knowledge and expertise to pursue a product liability or personal injury claim against any of the major auto manufacturers.

To speak with a lawyer about your case, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free case evaluation form.