Toyota owners in Montana may be familiar with litigation surrounding the sudden acceleration of some Toyota cars which have resulted in serious injuries and even death. Our readers may find it interesting to learn that the car marker recently settled a criminal fraud case that was brought forward against it by the U.S. government. The company has agreed to settle the case and pay the US government nearly $1.2 billion.

Settling this one lawsuit, however. does not shield the automaker from being civilly sued by parties who allege that the car maker manufactured and sold defective vehicles that were prone to unintended acceleration. In one case, a woman who was driving her 2005 Toyota Prius suffered severe head injuries when her vehicle accelerated as she attempted to exit a freeway. Despite stepping on the brake, the woman was unable to stop the car. which became airborne. Sadly this was not the only case, and in 2008 an off-duty officer and three others were killed when the family Lexus accelerated and he was unable to stop.

According to reports, under its settlement agreement, the car maker acknowledged it had willfully concealed a problem with accelerator pedals. Furthermore, the automaker revealed that company officials were aware of these problems for periods of time and deliberately and knowingly delayed implementing any fixes to these defects in an effort to avoid disclosure. According to court documents, in the case of the “sticky pedal,” for a period of at least several weeks, the company was installing a part that it had known to be unsafe.

Even though Toyota has settled the criminal case with the U.S. government, given the car defect, resulting serious injuries and even deaths that have occurred, Toyota will likely face product liability lawsuits. Anyone who believes that they were harmed by a defective product may find it beneficial to speak with a product liability law firm.

Source: NBC LA, “Paying $1.2 Billion Does Not End Toyota’s Exposure to Unintended Acceleration Liability,” Patrick Healy, March 20, 2014