Toyota Recall Spirals Into Lawsuit Frenzy

Car owners are suing over accidents and even lost value
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2010 10:15 AM CST
Graphic shows change in trade in value for selected Toyota vehicles.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The legal circus surrounding Toyota’s admitted safety issues has just begun, and could end up tacking billions more onto the final cost of the recall. Lawsuits are rolling in, and mainly fall into two camps: those seeking damages for accidents that may have been preventable, and those seeking compensation for value lost because of Toyota’s admissions. “You don't think you're damaged, try to sell your Toyota,” the leader of a class-action suit says.

The lawyer tells the Los Angeles Times that a survey of recently amended Kelley Blue Book values, compared with the number of Toyotas recalled, puts the company’s liability at around $2.1 billion. Damages for accidents could soar as well, and in both cases a payout would be increased if the company was proved to have known about the issues. Add hostile juries, and the legal situation gets bleaker. Still, a professor says, “$1 billion or $2 billion or even $3 billion” is “not catastrophic” to a firm of Toyota’s size.

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