Courts Affirm Verdict Against Plaintiff in Traction-Control Lawsuit Against Automaker

The Supreme Court of California recently released a ruling that affirmed a verdict for the defendant in a lawsuit filed against a vehicle manufacturer that had not included electronic traction control on a standard model truck that was being driven by the plaintiff when he was involved in a crash. The plaintiff in the case of Kim v. Toyota Motors was in a crash, and he claimed that it would have been prevented by an electronic traction control (or ESC) system that was included on more expensive models of Toyota trucks but not the standard model involved in the accident. The plaintiff argued that the manufacturer’s failure to include the option on the truck he was driving constituted a design defect, and he requested damages as a result.

The Plaintiff’s Allegation that ESC Would Have Prevented His Injuries

In April 2010, the plaintiff was driving a 2005 Toyota Tundra on a two-way road in California when he claims that he was forced to drive into the gravel median to avoid crashing into an oncoming driver who had entered his lane. According to the Court’s recitation of the facts, the plaintiff lost traction and oversteered the vehicle after entering the gravel median, eventually losing control and rolling the vehicle into an embankment. The plaintiff suffered serious injuries in the crash.

While presenting the case, the plaintiff argued that Toyota was able to include traction control on the vehicle involved, and if there were a traction control system included on his vehicle, he would have avoided the accident and injuries that were suffered.

The Jury Agrees With the Defendant at Trial, But the Plaintiff Appeals

After a nine-day jury trial, it was found that Toyota was not responsible for the injuries. The plaintiff appealed the case to the California Supreme Court, arguing that the trial judge’s ruling that allowed the defendant to show the jury that it was the automotive industry practice not to include ESC on lower-end vehicles was improper and irrelevant to the issue of whether the vehicle in question had a design defect. On appeal, the Supreme Court of California found that evidence of industry custom and practice may be relevant, and it would be admissible to the jury if it is found so by the trial judge.

Have You Been Injured in an Accident or by a Defective Product?

If you or a loved one has been involved in a Virginia auto accident or an accident caused by a dangerous or defective product, retaining a qualified attorney can make the difference between obtaining compensation for your injuries and leaving empty-handed. Contact the Virginia, District of Columbia, and Maryland personal injury lawyers at The Schupak Law Firm by calling 703-491-7070 (Virginia) or 888-407-4529 (Maryland and Washington, D.C.), or send us a message using our online form. Our experienced attorneys and staff have the resources and skill to make the most of your injury claim, and we can take you through the process to allow you to focus on recovering from your injuries. At The Schupak Law Firm, we handle cases and have offices in the entire D.C. Metro area, including in Arlington, Fredericksburg, Woodbridge, and throughout Northern Virginia, as well as in Southern Maryland.

See More Blog Posts:

Couple Sues Auction House after Wife Injured in Slip-and-Fall Accident, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, January 20, 2016.

The Enforceability of Liability Release Waivers in Virginia Courts, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, February 3, 2016.

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