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Toyota May Face Economic Loss Suits in Addition to Personal Injury, Wrongful Death

According to a California judge’s recent ruling, Toyota may have additional lawsuits headed their way. Chicago personal injury lawyers and attorneys across the US have filed a wave of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits against Toyota surrounding an ongoing series of vehicle recalls. Last month, a US District Judge in Santa Ana, CA – James Selna – ruled that he would allow economic loss cases to move forward.

Chicago personal injury lawyers are already involved with pending lawsuits against Toyota, but as a result of Judge Selan’s ruling it appears that Toyota could be facing several lawsuits of another nature – economic loss claims. According to the Chicago Tribune, “the plaintiffs argue that they have suffered economic losses because Toyota failed to disclose or repair problems that caused their cars to surge forward unexpectedly.”

Judge Selna writes in his ruling, “Taking these allegations as true, as the Court must at the pleading stage, they establish an economic loss. Plaintiffs bargained for safe, defect-free vehicles, but instead received unsafe, defective vehicles. A vehicle with a defect is worth less than one without a defect.”

It also appears that buyers may be able to file economic loss suits on the grounds that they overpaid for defective vehicles – even if they haven’t attempted to sell their Toyota vehicle. The reasoning is that these cars and trucks were misrepresented as working properly at the time of the initial sale; in retrospect, the cars are not worth the same amount because they are defective.

Toyota, via a spokesperson, has said regarding the possibility of economic loss suits: “Toyota is confident that no defect exists in its electronic throttle control system. The burden is now squarely on plaintiffs’ counsel to prove their allegations, and Toyota is confident that no such proof exists.”

According to the Tribune article, “California consumer laws are considered more favorable to plaintiffs than laws in many other states. Toyota asked the judge to rule that California law does not apply to suits brought in other states.”

At this time, the ruling only applies to California, but Chicago personal injury lawyers and attorneys in other areas who have filed lawsuits against Toyota will certainly be paying attention to see how this situation progresses. It is possible that economic loss law suits may be filed in addition to the already pending wrongful death, personal injury and other types of lawsuits agains Toyota.

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  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

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