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Toyota Reaches Settlement in Acceleration Cases

The Associated Press has reported that Toyota Motor Corp. has reached a settlement with Toyota owners involving the acceleration problem in some vehicles. The settlement is worth over $1 billion, the largest settlement in U.S. history involving automobile defects.

Those receiving payments will include Toyota owners who said the value of their cars and trucks declined after a number of recalls involving claims that Toyota vehicles accelerated unintentionally.

The proposed deal has been filed and must be approved by a U.S. District Judge. The review should take place Friday.

According to the article, hundreds of lawsuits were filed against Toyota beginning in 2009 when complaints were received that cars were accelerating on their own. The acceleration caused crashes, injuries, and some deaths. The cases were consolidated in U.S. District Court in California and divided into two categories: economic loss and wrongful death. But claims by owners who are seeking compensation for injury and death due to sudden acceleration are not part of the settlement. The first trial involving those suits begins Friday.

As part of the economic loss settlement, Toyota will offer cash payments to eligible customers who sold vehicles or turned in leased vehicles between September 2009 and December 2010. The company will also launch a program for current owners to provide supplemental warranty coverage for certain vehicle components and will retrofit a number of vehicles with a brake override system that will ensure a vehicle will stop when the brakes are applied even if the accelerator pedal is depressed.

Current and former Toyota owners will receive information in the coming months. Some information is also available at www.ToyotaELsettlement.com.