The first of hundreds of cases involving claims of injury and death due to sudden acceleration in Toyota cars has been scheduled for trial in federal court in Utah. The Utah crash caused the deaths of a driver and his passenger when their car acclerated to an extremely high speed and crashed into a wall. Skid marks at the scene showed that the driver was trying to brake and slow the vehicle down prior to the crash, without success. Two other family members in the car were also injured.
The first of hundreds of "Toyota sudden acceleration" death and injury cases, will proceed to trial in Feburary of 2013. The case, entitled Van Alfen v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., is the first of several bellwether lawsuits intended to determine how the rest of the cases in litigation will proceed. Van Alfen and the fiance of his son were killed in the crash, and the case will proceed as a wrongful death case.
Toyota denies all liability for the crashes, and denies that any defect in its cars is responsible for the hundreds of claims of sudden acceleration crashes that led to injuries, and in some instances deaths, involving Toyota's motor vehicles.
The Utah Highway Patrol determined that the crash that caused Van Alfen's death was caused by the floor mat interfering with the accelerator pedal. The 2008 Camry that Mr. Van Alfen was driving was subject to recalls focusing on all-weather floor mats interfering with accelerator pedals, unsecured mats entrapping the gas pedal and accelerators getting stuck.