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Toyota not liable for lack of brake override system

Toyota has been cleared in a product liability case in the state of California. The lawsuit was brought by the family of a car accident victim whose foot became wedged on the gas petal after being struck by another vehicle. The family argued that there was a defect in the design of the brake system.

The deceased victim drove a 2006 Toyota Camry when the accident occurred. When the victim's foot became lodged on the gas, she attempted to press the brake with her other foot. However, the vehicle did not contain a brake override system that would have enabled the car to stop despite having a foot on the accelerator. All Toyota vehicles have been outfitted with this override since 2010. Defense attorneys for Toyota successfully argued that the tragedy was not due to a design defect, but was due to the fact that the brake was not utilized. If the driver had used the brakes, the car would have stopped. Though Toyota was not found liable, the family was awarded $10 million in negligence damages against the driver who caused the accident.

Though this product liability case was unsuccessful, it may not be the end of litigation for Toyota. Some legal analysts believe that this verdict may affect pending cases against the car company. The other cases are alleging electronic defects in Toyota vehicles.

Like the family of this accident victim, anyone who has lost a family member due to a defective product may choose to seek compensation in a product liability case. A products liability attorney can help these families determine their legal options.

Source: ABA Journal, "Toyota found not liable in acceleration case," Debra Cassens Weiss, Oct. 11, 2013

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