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Toyota Motor Corp. has reached a settlement in excess of $1 billion to resolve lawsuits arising from unintentional acceleration. Hundreds of Toyota owners filed suit against the company alleging that the value of their vehicles was dramatically diminished after a series of recalls involving claims of unintended acceleration problems in those vehicles.

According to an attorney who represented Toyota owners, the settlement is the largest settlement in the United States involving defective automobiles. The total settlement value is reported to be between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion.

As part of the settlement, Toyota will offer payments to customers who sold vehicles or turned in leased vehicles between September 2009 and December 2010.

Toyota will also provide supplemental warranty coverage for specified vehicle components to approximately 16 million current Toyota owners, and will retrofit over 3 million vehicles with a system to override the brakes.

In addition, the settlement will fund new research into safety technologies and establish driver education programs.

Over 14 million Toyota vehicles were recalled in connection with acceleration problems and brake defects. Toyota has been fined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for its failure to report problems with these defective products in a timely fashion. This month, the company was fined $17.4 million and previously paid $48.8 million in fines in 2010.

For more information, contact the Ohio defective product attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List.

Source: Yahoo News, “Settlement reached in Toyota acceleration cases,” Greg Risling, Associated Press, December 26, 2012.