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Toyota Faces Potential Legal Battle Over Prius Defects

» Posted May 14, 2018Resources | Share This Post

Those who purchase new cars have the right to expect to receive a vehicle that is free from defects – especially defects that could compromise vehicle safety. Unfortunately, many cars are sold with serious problems. A California lemon law attorney can provide help to car buyers of defective vehicles in understanding how the law protects them and can offer assistance in pursuing appropriate remedies.

While there have been many examples of defective vehicles on the market, one recent issue relates to Prius models. As the York Dispatch indicates, Toyota is potentially facing a legal battle over serious problems with Prius vehicles that have been linked to accidents and injuries.

Toyota Faces Legal Issues in Connection with Prius Defects

According to York Dispatch, Prius is monitoring problems with the electrical systems in some models of their Prius vehicles. There was already a safety recall in connection with these electrical system problems back in 2014 which was supposed to fix the issue. Unfortunately, there appear to be continued problem with many Prius vehicles that did not get corrected during the earlier recall, according to Toyota internal documents.

The Toyota documents reveal that approximately 800 defective components of the electrical system of Prius models were returned to the car maker or to outside technical consultants by auto dealers over a two-month period of time during the course of the year as a result of electrical failures.  The problem appears to occur when the electrical system in the car becomes overheated, damaging key parts of the system and leaving motorists unable to continue operating their vehicles.

Issues with overheating and electrical damage have been ongoing, but the Toyota documents reveal that the problem is becoming much more of a safety issue. In fact, serious injuries have occurred recently because of failing Prius vehicles including in one case where a Prius driver lost power to her vehicle on a busy four lane highway. When her car shut off, she was rear-ended by another vehicle going around 55 miles per hour and she sustained injuries as a result.  York Dispatch also indicates that there was another incident on a freeway in 2016 when a Prius shut off and injuries happened as a result.

Because of the repeated problems, a Southern California Toyota dealer has requested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launch a full investigation into Toyota defects. NHTSA has indicated that it seeking more information from Toyota representatives and is reviewing lawsuits that have been filed against Toyota in connection with the defects.   Lawmakers for the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security are also conducting an investigation into problems with the Prius vehicles.

While the investigation may be ongoing for a while, vehicle owners could be at risk now and need to know their rights if their Prius vehicles are giving them problems. A California lemon law attorney can provide representation to those whose vehicles have problems.  If you purchased a Prius or any new car that turns out to be defective, you should contact an experienced attorney for help understanding your rights and pursuing appropriate remedies.


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