As most know, the high-profile case involving the death of a San Diego family when the Lexus they were driving sped out of control and crashed has settled. Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to pay relatives of the family of Mark Saylor an undisclosed sum to settle the case. How much? We will probably never know.
Most settlements of personal injury cases are confidential. Settlements are really side deals, where both parties agree to a separate settlement contract. One side, the plaintiff, agrees to dismiss the lawsuit, and the other side agrees to pay money for that dismissal. Frequently it is a provision of the settlement agreement that the settlement remain confidential, allowing the plaintiff to disclose the terms only to tax advisers, or if compelled to do so (by a governmental agency). Another common provision of settlement agreements is no admission of liability. Though the defendant is agreeing to pay money to “buy their peace,” they almost always want the plaintiff to acknowledge that they are not admitting any liability. I am sure Toyota had done so here.
This case was just a pure tragedy, and the Saylor relatives hired one of San Diego finest product liability lawyers in John Gomez. The lawsuit alleged that the Lexus in which the Saylors were driving at the time of the accident was defective, and that the defect played a major role in the deaths. There is no doubt that Toyota paid a substantial sum in the case, whatever that may be.
Interestingly, the case is not over. An additional defendant in the case is Bob Baker Lexus, the dealership that provided the car to Saylor. In product liability cases, it’s not just the manufacturer of the defective product that can be held liable for the defective product, but all the actors in the “stream of commerce” of that product. Since Bob Baker Lexus provided the car, it can be liable for the defect.
Naturally, Bob Baker wasn’t too happy about the settlement. Its attorney told the Union Tribune that Toyota “left us hanging out there.” I am certain we will be reading soon about Bob Baker Lexus’s settlement with the family, and the legal actions arising from this whole sad affair will be over.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The Walton Law Firm represents individuals and families who have been impacted by all types of accidents including auto accidents, wrongful death claims, defective products, dog bites, worksite injuries, elder abuse and neglect, sexual molestation, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.