With Toyota Motor Company’s quality control, safety and legal problems continuing to worsen, the world’s largest automaker suffered a new setback recently with the announcement that the federal government has hit the company with a huge fine. The Transportation Department recently issued the record $16.4 million fine to the company for hiding a “dangerous defect” and failing to act in a timely manner to alert regulators to safety problems in several of its models. Toyota is reportedly weighing its options and must decide whether to accept the fine, which would amount to admitting that they did something wrong or contesting the fine and taking on even more negative publicity.
The company has been named in hundreds of private product liability lawsuits and has two weeks to decide to accept the fine or contest it. The company is in the midst of dealing with recalls on over six million of its most popular models in the U.S. and another two million in other countries. The biggest recall affects many Toyota models being fixed for gas pedals that can accelerate suddenly and become stuck. Faulty brakes have plagued the company’s popular Prius hybrid model.
During the announcement of the record fine, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood claimed that his department had documentation that indicated that the company knew about the sticking accelerator problems late in September 2009, but did not issue a recall to remedy the problem until January 2010. The sticking accelerator recall affects 2.3 million Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs.
“We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations,” LaHood said in a statement. “Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families.”
Because the company allegedly knew about the safety problems and was slow to react, LaHood levied the maximum penalty allowable. The previous record fine from the Department of Transportation was issued in 2004 against General Motors for $1 million for faulty windshield wipers. Thus far, the Toyota Motor Company has been named in at least 138 potential class-action lawsuits over falling vehicle and company stock values and at least 100 personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country.
Under Florida law, the manufacturer and seller of a defective product is liable for any loss, injury or damage caused by the normal use of the defective product. Florida Toyota recall accident lawyer James O. Cunningham has been helping clients and families in product liability cases since 1977. He has the experience and resources to handle large cases like this, and he has earned the reputation of a tireless defender of his clients’ rights and someone who works hard to help each client receive the maximum compensation. If you have been injured or someone you care for has been injured or died due to a defective Toyota vehicle, contact Florida Toyota recall accident attorney James O. Cunningham today.
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James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a vehicle accident, call toll-free at 1-888-FLA-Auto (1-888-352-2886).
Verdicts & Settlements
- Rear End Car Accident:
$3.75 Million Recovery
- Semi-Truck Accident:
$1.5 Million Recovery
- Van Rollover:
$1.2 Million Wrongful Death Recovery
- Rear End Bus Accident:
- Truck Collides with Cow: