The California auto defect lawyers of Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Toyota Corporation and Courtesy Toyota of Brandon, Florida. The case stems from the death of Elisa Obediente in a May 2009 rollover crash.
The car accident occurred when Elisa, a loving wife and mother of four, lost control of a 1998 Toyota 4Runner SUV that had been sold by Courtesy Toyota. According to the lawsuit, Elisa was trying to avoid another vehicle when her SUV over steered.
“We’re alleging that the lateral instability of the 4Runner made it impossible to regain control of the SUV by anyone but a professional driver,” said John Bisnar of the Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys auto defects law firm.
Several Defects Plagued Toyota SUV
The 4Runner had several defects that led to the tragic car accident. If these anomalies had been addressed or disclosed, Elisa would probably still be alive today.
For example, the 4Runner was not equipped with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) technology which could have helped Elisa maintain control of her car in a common traffic situation. ESC technology has been available for the Toyota 4Runner since 1995 at a low extra cost to the car manufacturer. Other safety features such as thicker steel, which could have also been inexpensively installed, could have prevented wrongful deaths and injuries in rollover accidents. Toyota however feared that taking such actions would have led to an expensive recall campaign by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Toyota Knew About Dangerous Defects
Meantime, Toyota’s negligence to provide for such safety features for their customers is made even more glaring by the fact that the car manufacturer has long had information that their SUVs were particularly vulnerable to rollovers and roof crush problems. In addition, Toyota also encouraged customers to upgrade to a larger wheel and tire package that exacerbated the 4Runner’s propensity to roll over.
“Our case alleges that Toyota knew these vehicles, used as intended, might expose the public to death and serious injuries; furthermore, they falsified test results, ignored and suppressed data and falsely mischaracterized adverse test data, which they knew would prove their SUVs were defective,” Mr. Bisnar said.
A False Sense of Security
Customers meantime were given a false sense of security by Toyota’s advertising and marketing, which implied that the 4Runner featured advanced engineering and quality construction.
“We’re saying just the opposite is true; the 4Runner lacked a myriad of safety features that made it unsafe in a foreseeable rollover accident, one that would occur during everyday collision avoidance manoeuvres performed by unprofessional drivers.”
The case was filed on behalf of Elisa’s husband Julio Obediente and her children Cesar, Julio Jr., Rafael and Sandra Duffau. If you would like to learn more about this case please read “Auto Defects Lawyers File Wrongful Death Action Against Toyota.”