With Class-Action Lawsuits, Toyota May Owe More Than $3 Billion

More so than brand image or reputation, a manufacturer's foremost concern should be the product's safety. When a manufacturer puts a defective product on the market that has not been thoroughly tested and its integrity has not been absolutely ensured, they betray the trust that is inherent in the consumer-manufacturer relationship. This betrayal can lead to myriad injuries and tragic fatalities for consumers.

Texas residents may have caught wind of a recent story involving the automotive manufacturer Toyota. According to reports, Toyota will owe billions in fines and settlements from class-action and personal lawsuits. The Attorney General claimed that Toyota had partaken in a cover-up in order to continue selling cars that the manufacturer knew to be defective. Among the design defects were brake problems and acceleration pedals that were getting stuck and putting drivers in dangerous situations.

Many see the billions Toyota will pay as a warning to other car companies who are facing similar allegations -- companies like GM.

In order to settle a four-year government probe, Toyota will pay a $1.2 billion criminal penalty fine. When factoring in class-action and private lawsuits, this number could total more than $3 billion owed by the car manufacturer.

In the best-case scenario, an automotive defect may prove to be an inconvenience. In the worst, it may lead to severe injuries or even death from an accident. When consumers are in possession of a defective vehicle, and the defective vehicle leads to harm or injury, they may be able to prove the liability of the manufacturer and pursue defective product claims. They may be able to partake in a class-action lawsuit -- that is, come together with others who have been injured because of the defective product and sue the defendant -- which can be greatly aided by legal expertise in this type of lawsuit.

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