A four-year criminal investigation of Toyota’s sudden unintended acceleration defects has come to an end with the automaker agreeing to pay record-breaking fines. A settlement of $1.2 billion will be paid by Toyota to resolve the allegations – the highest amount paid by an auto manufacturer in U.S. history to settle charges of criminal offenses. The settlement comes shortly after an Oklahoma jury found Toyota liable for the electronic throttle defects causing a 2007 crash that killed one woman and left another seriously injured. The two women had been riding in a 2005 Toyota Camry when the vehicle suddenly accelerated off an Oklahoma highway and into an embankment.
Jere Beasley, attorney and founding shareholder of the Beasley Allen Law Firm, represented both families of the victims who would later be awarded a $1.5 million verdict in October 2013. Mr. Beasley believes that the government did not regulate the auto industry enough, which allowed Toyota to continue despite its problem. “Keep them accountable and then make sure they are accountable,” Mr. Beasley said.