A vehicle defect that repeatedly sends a California car owner to the dealer for repairs can be frustrating and annoying. When that auto defect results in injuries, it can be devastating. Recently, Toyota lost a multi-million-dollar lawsuit filed by parents who claim the defective front seats in their vehicle resulted in traumatic brain injuries for both of their children. It is not the only judgment against the carmaker, and now lawmakers are asking for changes.
The front seats in the Lexus sedan apparently meet the standards for safety required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, those standards were established in 1967, and the U.S. Congress wants the NHTSA to make changes. Toyota representatives testified that as early as 1980, the car company knew these standards were not safe. A simulation presented to the jury in the civil trial showed what happens to those front seats when the car is struck from behind by another vehicle.
Impact from a rear-end collision causes the front seats to collapse backward, sending the driver and front-seat passenger headfirst into the back-seat passengers. On numerous occasions, those passengers were children in car seats who suffered permanent brain injuries. Investigators discovered at least 100 other accidents where children were injured or killed by collapsing front seats. Some parents are angry that Toyota never revealed what it knew about the seats, which would have allowed them the choice of buying a safer vehicle.
Car manufacturers who withhold information about auto defects place lives in the balance. Those who purchase a vehicle that has a dangerous or deadly defect have the right to seek justice. Many in California obtain the assistance of an attorney to pursue that justice.