The California auto product liability lawyers of Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys have filed a product liability wrongful death lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, USA. The case stems from the death of Jeffrey Bachman in a rollover accident in April last year. The lawsuit alleges that Bachman’s 1998 Toyota 4Runner SUV was improperly designed and failed to protect the young father during the car accident. Bachman left behind a loving wife and four children.
Bachman was driving his Toyota 4Runner on Interstate 95 when, attempting to simply change lanes, the SUV over-steered and caused the vehicle to rollover. This also led to a SUV roof crush which partially ejected Bachman. Bachman suffered open skull fractures, fractured vertebrae, multiple facial fractures and other injuries. He died just hours after the car accident.
“It’s our position that the lateral instability of the 4Runner made it highly unlikely that anyone but a professional driver would have been able to regain control of this SUV,” said Brian Chase of the Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys Auto Defects Law Firm.
Toyota Knew of SUV Defects
Sadly, Toyota had information that could have prevented the car crash. Even before its manufacture, Toyota knew that its 4Runner had failed stability tests and ranked second in a Federal Registry study of the most likely vehicles in its class to rollover.
“During Toyota’s own in-house test, the 4Runner rolled over and/or obtained two wheel tip-up, occurring at speeds as low as 32 miles per hour,” Chase said. “We’re alleging that Toyota failed to disclose these tests and the likelihood of rollovers to consumers as well as specifically to Mr. Bachman,” Chase added.
Toyota 4Runner Had Several Defects
Aside from its high center of gravity and narrow track width, the SUV also had a host of other defects. Its pillars, windshield headers and roof rails were too weak to withstand a roof crush and its side and rear windows did not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. In addition, the SUV lacked side curtain airbags which could have restrained Bachman and prevented his partial ejection. Meantime, despite its propensity to roll over, readily available technology such as Vehicle Stability Control (VCS) was only offered as an option and not as standard equipment.
While Toyota was aware of these defects and had the technology to provide a safer product to its consumers, the car manufacturer opted to maximize on its profits by scrimping on safety features. Through its marketing and advertising, Toyota also misled consumers into thinking that the car they were buying was safe and sturdy.
The wrongful death products liability lawsuit (number YC060386) was filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles. For further information read the full press release, “California Auto Products Liability Lawyers File Wrongful Death Action Against Toyota.”