Toyota and GM have both been in the news lately for concealing safety defects
from the general public, resulting in numerous injuries and deaths. U.S.
Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., addressed the topic recently, calling
it both “shameful” and a “blatant disregard” for the law.
The Justice Department ran a 4-year investigation of Toyota and found that
the auto company had purposely concealed information about the
defects in their cars, putting thousands of lives at risk. The defect in question caused sudden and
unintended acceleration in several of its models. Recently, a $1.2 billion criminal penalty was
imposed on Toyota—the largest penalty ever for a carmaker in the
Toyota deliberately concealed problems related to floor mats and sticky
accelerator pedals and made deceiving statements to consumers in an effort
to protect its brand image. What is even more devastating for the families
of those who were killed by Toyota’s defects is that Toyota knew
of these defects as early as 2007, but failed to correct the problem.
Internal documents showed that Toyota employees were extremely proud of
saving more than $100 million after convincing safety regulators that
the defect reports in 2007 only involved a floor mat fix and not a sticky
accelerator pedal. They then continued to hide evidence of the sticky
accelerator pedal from regulators and lied to the general public regarding
the dangers that still existed.
Sadly, Toyota is not the only carmaker under fire. General Motors is now
the subject of a Justice Department investigation over its failure to
recall cars with a defect they have known about for a decade. This defect
involves a defective ignition switch that actually shuts off engines and
disables the air bags at high speeds. It has since been linked to at least
12 deaths, although safety consumer experts warn that number could be
Hearings involving the 1.6 million GM vehicle recall and the Justice Department’s
safety probe are set to begin in April.
GM is also facing a class action lawsuit alleging that the company hid
evidence of its ignition problems in 2009 when it filed for bankruptcy.
The Justice Department is also investigating whether GM committed bankruptcy
fraud by hiding the ignition problems in 2009.
When a carmaker or other corporation cares more about its brand image and
profit margin than the safety of their consumers, devastating injuries
often occur. When this happens, you need an experienced car accident attorney
on your side to hold the negligent and fraudulent corporations accountable
for their actions.
The Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers at Kelley/Uustal have successfully
litigated numerous defective auto parts cases for injured clients and
families in Broward County and throughout South Florida. To learn more
about your legal options,
call our attorneys at (954) 522-6601 for a free consultation.