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Toyota’s woes could endanger Oakland drivers, cyclists and pedestrians

Since 2009, Toyota has recalled a stunning total of 22.6 million vehicles for safety issues; each of these safety issues put the lives of motorists and others who share the road at risk. The problems began in 2009, when the prolific automaker recalled 10.2 million cars in the U.S. (along with another 2.2 million in the rest of the world) for sticky gas pedals and ill-conceived floor mats that could lead to spontaneous acceleration.

2012 has been another troubling year for Toyota, with a safety recall affecting 7.4 million cars globally issued in October, and another that covers 2.8 million vehicles coming in mid November. The October recall concerns cars with improperly lubricated power windows that could cause fire, while the November recall was issued to address steering problems that affect many older Prius hybrids, as well as a number of other models.

With thousands of Toyotas on the road in the Silicon Valley and Bay Area, Oakland pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents and motor vehicle collisions could become more pronounced if the growing tide of vehicle defects is not properly addressed. For victims of these accidents, legal action may be the only way to obtain full and fair compensation for injuries.

Vehicle manufacturers, negligent motorists may bear liability for accidents

When a recall is issued for a safety defect in an automobile or automobile component, within a reasonable amount of time the manufacturer must notify all registered owners and purchasers of the affected vehicles by first-class mail (names of vehicle owners are typically obtained from the state motor vehicle offices). Safety defect recall letters must inform consumers of the safety risk, and tell them how to get the problem corrected at no charge.

Once a vehicle owner or purchaser has become aware of a safety recall, whether through an official recall letter or through some other means, he or she has a duty to get the problem corrected. Normally, an automaker is strictly liable for any injuries caused as a result of a safety defect in their product, without any required showing of recklessness. However, if the driver of a vehicle knew about a safety problem and continued to use the vehicle anyway, the vehicle’s manufacturer or seller may be shielded from liability for injuries, at least to some degree. Under these circumstances – when the vehicle’s operator knew of a safety defect and continued to use the vehicle anyway – the driver and/or the driver’s insurer may bear liability for injuries.

An Oakland personal injury lawyer can tell you more

If you’ve been the victim of Oakland car accident as a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist, you may have a right to compensation for you injuries. Contact an Oakland personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights and the legal remedies that may be available to you.