When a person buys an automobile, they have the right to assume that the vehicle will perform properly. When this does not happen and an accident occurs, the manufacturer can be held accountable. Our Ponca City and Kay readers are probably aware of the wrongful death suits car manufacturer Toyota are defending against. Recently, a Oklahoma jury found in favor of one of the plaintiffs.
An Oklahoma City jury has found that Toyota was guilty of reckless disregard. This means the manufacturer failed to take action to correct a situation they knew was dangerous. The jury awarded a woman and the surviving family member of another woman $3 million in compensatory damages, and because they were found to be reckless, Toyota could also face punitive damages.
The suit stems from an accident where the woman was driving a 2005 Toyota Camry that accelerated on its own and caused a crash, killing the passenger in the vehicle. Toyota has maintained that there really wasn't an issue and has refused to admit any fault in the accidents. Toyota has won three similar cases, but losing this case could be the beginning of problems for Toyota. They may need to rethink their stance regarding not taking any responsibility for the accidents.
If a manufacturer is alerted to the possibility that there could be a problem with a product, it is in the best interest of the company to do whatever is necessary to correct the issue. Whether that is issuing a recall to fix or replace the defective part or taking the product off the market entirely, it is better for a company to be proactive and take charge than it is to continuously deny any problem and end up on the losing end of a lawsuit. People have a right to be safe when using products and when that doesn't happen, these same people have the legal right to seek compensation in a court of law.
Anyone who is injured or killed because of the actions or inaction of an individual or organization has a right to seek damages for their losses. Medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship can all be sought, among other damages. A legal professional experienced in handling such cases can help a person determine the proper course of action to receive the compensation they deserve.
UPI.com, "Jury rules against Toyota in 'unintended-acceleration' fatal crash" No author given, Oct. 25, 2013