A jury in California has ruled that Toyota Motor Corp. could not be blamed for the death of Noriko Uno whose 2006 Camry suddenly accelerated out of control onto oncoming traffic and eventually hit a tree. The jury ruled that there wasn't a defect in the Camry that contributed to the crash. It rejected claims that the absence of a brake-override system in the Camry was to blame for the car speeding onto the wrong direction and crashing while Uno was trying to brake.
The jury instead ruled that the driver of another vehicle that bumped the Camry from behind was to blame for the accident. Jurors said the other driver must pay $10 million in damages to Uno's husband and son.
The Uno trial was the first case of around 85 personal-injury and wrongful-death lawsuits in California state court filed against Toyota who recalled a large number of vehicles in 2009 and 2010 for possible sudden, unexpected acceleration-related issues.
The 2006 Camry wasn't part of the recalls for unintended acceleration issues.
Carly Schaffner, a Toyota spokeswoman, said in a statement that the carmaker is “gratified” that the jury ruled that the design of the 2006 Camry did not contribute to the accident, affirming their conclusion that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. She said that the verdict sets a “significant benchmark” by helping confirm that Toyota vehicles “are safe with or without brake override."