Car Accident Attorney Jim Higgins Discusses Current Status of the Toyota Recall Litigation

Male: The following is a sponsored segment from The Higgins Firm.

Nick Paranjape: All right. Welcome back to Tennessee Mornings. Problems with some Toyota Cars as the automaker facing several lawsuits after faulty accelerators causing serious injuries and deaths were reported. Here, with more on these cases, is our legal eagle, Attorney Jim Higgins here from The Higgins Firm.

Good to see you, Jim.

Jim Higgins: Good to see you.

Nick Paranjape: Honestly, it's been a while. I mean, we haven't talked about this in a long time. This was huge news...

Jim Higgins: Yes.

Nick Paranjape: …you know, with these accelerators getting stuck and all of that. Tell me what's the latest with this?

Jim Higgins: Well, you know, and that's just the way lawsuits work. They take a long time. So what's happened since we started hearing about this years ago and we saw the video of the lady and heard it, you know…

Nick Paranjape: Yes. Yes.

Jim Higgins: …in California and things like that is there are hundreds of lawsuits filed where people were, like you said, just endured horrific cases and those have been in the courts. And what's been happening is experts have been battling over, well, what caused it? Was it driver error or were these Toyotas really accelerating?

And what the cases have come down to are basically are the side that's representing these families are saying, you know what, whatever is causing that acceleration, the easy fix was you should have had a system in the Toyota where if you hit the break, it stops. Other cars have had that for a while.

Nick Paranjape: True. True.

Jim Higgins: And so that's what these cases have kind of been traveling under because no expert has been able to agree as to what caused it. Some says it's format, some says it's driver, some says it's problem with electronic throttle. And so, basically, the cases are saying, well, you know what, whatever it is, it ought to stop when it puts the break on.

So all that's happened in one case out of these hundreds was get ready to go to trial and Utah and Toyota just settled that case. They just settled another one where a California Highway Trooper and his family were killed, similar accident. And the terms of the amount of that settlement have not been disclosed. What Toyota says is there's hundreds of others. They're not going to resolve every case. They're kind of taking it on a case-by-case basis and some of these has there stacking up now and ready are going to start going to trial and let a jury decide, you know, was this a Toyota problem or was this a driver problem?

Nick Paranjape: What – did you get a lot of interest here from the Tennessee, Middle Tennessee area from…

Jim Higgins: You know, not – we had a couple of cases that we're working with – with some of these firms and around the country that were some pretty tragic cases. The thing is is these cars are still out there. There is not a – this break cutoff system that we think they should have until cars that, I think, came out after 2010. So occasionally, we are still seeing these.

What happens a lot of times is people will be in one car accident and they think it was their fault or there was some problem. And it could be the result of a car defect. And so that's really what we see when we and somebody says there's an accident, you – and it's a tragic accident, you have to take that one step look forward to say, OK, was this because of just something that shouldn't happen…

Nick Paranjape: Sure.

Jim Higgins: …or was there something wrong with that car?

Nick Paranjape: Wow. Well, if you every have any legal questions, whether it's about this case or – that involves you or anything else, you can always call The Higgins Firm. That phone number right there, 353-0930. You can also contact Jim personally through e-mail, jsh@higginsfirm.com.

Jim, good to see you.

Jim Higgins: Thank you, Nick.

Nick Paranjape: Thank you.