George N. Statfeld of Manhattan, a lawyer for emergency room physician Amir Sitafalwalla, said Toyota Motor Corp. failed to warn Sitafalwalla that his vehicle could unexpectedly accelerate. Sitafalwalla claims his 2005 Scion sped up uncontrollably and did not stop until he hit a tree.
Filed in 2008 in federal court in Central Islip, the suit is the first such claim against Toyota to reach a jury trial in the U.S. since the vehicle recalls, which commenced in 2009. Statfeld told jurors and U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle that the accident was caused by the negligence of Toyota.
He added that as soon as his client attempted to place the vehicle in park, it took off instead, says Bloomberg.
Sitafalwalla claims Toyota knew its vehicles could unintentionally speed up, leaving drivers at risk for injuries and accidents. Sitafalwalla was injured in the October 2005 accident in the driveway of his home in Port Washington, New York.
Toyota disputes his claim that there was a defect in his Scion, which was not among those recalled, or that any flaws caused the accident. Starting in 2009, Toyota recalled millions of U.S. vehicles for defects related to sudden unintended acceleration.
Toyota faces hundreds of lawsuits claiming lost vehicle value or personal injuries caused by incidents of sudden unintended acceleration.