After Japanese automaker Takata pleaded guilty for concealing deadly air bags that killed over ten people, four major car companies have also agreed to pay over $500 million to resolve claims related to exploding air bags in their vehicles. Toyota, Subaru, BMW, and Mazda will contribute the money to help fix the vehicles of people affected in the settlement. If the settlement is finalized later this year, the plaintiffs are going to receive $500 in compensation, a loaner car while the exploding air bags are removed from their cars, and related expenses will be covered under the settlement program. That comes on top of the reported $1 billion Takata has agreed to pay which will compensate automakers, victims and their families, and pay a criminal fine.
According to various news reports, the Takata air bags would explode with too much force sending lethal shrapnel to the drivers and passengers of the vehicle. Once the issue was discovered, there was a massive recall of the air bags which affected an estimated 42 million vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a list of cars that were effected by the Takata air bag scandal. Earlier this month, Senator Bill Nelson from Florida cited a report stating two-thirds of the vehicles with the defective airbags have not been fixed yet. He attributed the delay on fixing the effected vehicles on the lack of staff at the NHTSA due to President Donald Trump’s inability to fill positions at the agency. According to the Senator with summer arriving in a few weeks, it is imperative that the airbag issue gets resolved because more people drive in the summer months.
Toyota Motor Corporation announced they are going to pay close to $1.4 billion to settle lawsuits that allege their vehicles accelerated unintentionally and without warning. News of Toyota’s vehicle acceleration problem made worldwide headlines and even caused the CEO of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, to apologize. He even testified in front of Congress to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for the lax safety measures that led to the vehicle problems and pledged to strengthen quality control.
According to news reports about the settlement, Toyota will establish a fund of $250 million for customers who bought vehicles from September 2009 to December 2010. The money will be used to provide cash payments, retrofit certain vehicles, and add additional warranty for certain vehicle components. In addition to the money, the settlement will establish additional driver education programs and fund research into advanced safety technologies.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the issues involving Toyota occurred in 2009 after an off-duty officer and three of his passengers were killed when the car sped out of control. When more news stories came out about vehicle acceleration problems, Japanese and American authorities launched their own investigations. There is a separate lawsuit against Toyota where people are seeking compensation for injury and wrongful death. They were not part of the settlement, and according to NBC News, the first trial is slated to start in February.
This settlement was recently granted preliminary approval by the court. If you believe you are due compensation, you can visit the official Toyota economic loss settlement website at http://www.toyotaelsettlement.com. If you are a plaintiff’s attorney litigating this case and are in need of a post-settlement advance on your legal fees, RD Legal’s Fee Acceleration program can help. Simply visit http://www.legalfunding.com/solutions/fee_acceleration.cfm for more details about post-settlement legal funding.