One of the most horrific incidents occurred the day after Christmas in Texas, when a 2008 Toyota sped off the road, through a fence, and landed upside down in a pond killing the driver and passengers inside. In another case, a Toyota New Jersey owner drove all the way back to his local dealer with his car speeding out of control even though his foot was not touching the gas pedal.
Safety analysts have pointed to electronic defects in the vehicles and multiple other Toyota owners have made similar claims about electronic problems in their cars over the last few years even though Toyota originally dismissed them as unfounded. Continued reports of runaway Toyotas since the original November recall have called into question the company’s fierce denials.
But now Toyota has acknowledged a “sticking accelerator problem” in its vehicles and announced the latest recall, which affects Camrys from 2007 to 2010, the RAV4, Corolla, and Matrix models from 2009 and 2010, the 2007 to 2010 Tundra and the 2008 to 2010 Sequoias, Avalons from model years 2005 to 2010, and the 2010 Highlander. Approximately 1.7 million of the vehicles cited are also affected by the earlier recall.
In Georgia, Toyota manufacturers would be held strictly liable in products liability torts action. Georgia lawmakers did this in order to protect the consumer by shifting the burden of the loss to the wrongdoer, i.e. the manufacturer of the defective product that caused the injuries. The essential elements of this tort action are: first, the manufacture of the product (Toyota manufactured the cars); second, a defective product (the vehicles are in fact defective hence the recalls); third, an injury to a natural person proximately caused by the defect (multiple Toyota owners suffered injuries due to this defect); fourth, a sale of the product as a new product (Toyota dealers sold these new vehicles off their dealership lots); and fifth, the existence of the defect at the time the product left the manufacturer’s control (the defect was present when Toyota sold the car to consumers.)
Additionally in Georgia, a products liability action against a manufacturer is an action in tort. Privity of contract, therefore, is not necessary. This means that under Georgia law, you can sue Toyota for injuries you received due to a defective vehicle even though you didn’t personally own the vehicle.
The Oinonen Law Group understands the law relating to defective products and can help you recover for injuries you’ve received due to a Toyota vehicle or any other product. Contact us at 404-654-0288 for more information.