Toyota Motor Corp. has settled the first in a group of hundreds of pending wrongful death and injury filed against the car manufacturer. The lawsuits all involve sudden, unintended acceleration by Toyota vehicles. The lawsuit was filed by the by the family of Paul Van Alfen and Charlene Jones Lloyd, who were killed when their Toyota Camry slammed into a wall in Utah in 2010.
In December, a U.S. District Court judge gave preliminary approval to a $1.1 billion settlement between Toyota and the plaintiffs of claiming economic losses Toyota owners suffered when the automaker recalled millions of vehicles. Hundreds more lawsuits involving wrongful death and injury remain.
In this case, investigators concluded that as Van Alfen was driving his car on Interstate 80 near Wendover, Utah, it suddenly accelerated. Skid marks showed that he tried to stop the car as it exited the highway but couldn’t. The Camry went through a stop sign at the bottom of the ramp, and through an intersection before slamming into the wall. Alfen and Lloyd, his son’s fiancé, were killed. His wife and son, who were also in the car, were injured. The Utah Highway Patrol determined that the cause of the accident was a stuck gas pedal.
The Virginia Injury Lawyer Perspective:
Our firm has written several reports about the sudden acceleration issue in Toyota vehicles that have caused all these tragic accidents. In 2009, we wrote several reports about the recall, including one accident that killed Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor and three family members.
We hope for all those involved in these lawsuits, now that the legal process has begun, that it will move quickly so all of the victims’ families can begin the healing process too.
Interstate 80 near Wendover, Utah