In perhaps the final chapter of the infamous Toyota recall unintended acceleration saga, the federal judge presiding over the case approved the terms of the settlement on Friday. The class-action lawsuit was over the design defects that cause the vehicles to accelerate without warning and/or any involvement from the driver. Also, due to the numerous Toyota recalls and scrutiny from the media, owners claimed that their residual values plummeted, contrary to how the market has been performing.
The settlement was initially approved back in December of last year.
To recap, here are the highlights of the settlement:
$30 million – Automobile safety research and education fund
$14.2 million – Campaign for driver education media
$15 million – Research for future active safety features
$800,000 – To conduct a consumer study on defense driving, as well as proper use of vehicle safety systems
The settlement does not cover the ongoing wrongful death, personal injury, or property damage lawsuits filed in separate courts. Moreover, nearly 22 million registered owners have until July 29, 2013 to participate in the settlement. Attorneys for the case are seeking over $200 million in fees, as well as $27 million dollars in fees. Payouts to those that participate in the settlement can range from $25-150.
Despite the settlement, there continues to be numerous Toyota recalls for various other issues, as well as government intervention into having the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reopen the case, due to its inconclusive findings in the matter.
Parts of this article were reprinted with permission from the writer.