Wrongful Death Trial Against Toyota For Sudden Acceleration Begins Monday

Greg Risling with the Associated Press reports that one of the first "sudden acceleration" trials against automaker Toyota is set to begin on Monday in California, starting with jury selection. The trial could last weeks. As the first of many such cases to hit trial, its outcome will be used by lawyers and judges to predict how the other cases might be resolved.

Regarding this first case, Risling quotes a law professor: "If the plaintiff succeeds in convincing a jury it wasn't human error, that it was attributed to the car, I think they have a strong case. Jurors, as drivers, are likely to believe strongly that cars shouldn't become uncontrollable in this way."

"This way," says the law professor, meaning what happened to Noriko Uno, whose Toyota Camry accelerated to speeds of 100 mph in a residential area before crashing into a telephone pole and a tree. Uno died in the crash. If Toyota is found liable to Uno for what happened with the Camry, the automaker could face similar liability in scores of similar cases.

But Toyota, for its part, denies there was anything wrong with the car. Human error is the automaker's argument.

Wikipedia defines sudden unintended acceleration as the unexpected, uncontrolled acceleration of a vehicle, often accompanied by an apparent loss of braking effectiveness. Such problems may be caused by driver error (pedal misapplication), mechanical or electrical problems, or some combination of these factors.

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