Toyota recently announced the recall of 2.4 million of its Prius model, a hybrid car. This is a worldwide recall, but over 800,000 of the affected models are in the United States. Being that Portlanders are environmentally conscious, it would not be surprising at all that some of these vehicles are being driven in this city.
According to media reports, the reason for the recall is that these vehicles may stall without warning. In other words, their engine would simply cut out as the vehicle traveled down the road. Of course, losing engine power also means a driver loses control over the vehicle in other respects as well, although Toyota claims that power steering would continue to function in the event of a stall.
There can be little doubt that a vehicle which stalls suddenly could cause a serious accident, since even the most careful of drivers might not have time to respond to the stall in time to prevent a collision, particularly if they are traveling at highway speeds.
This story thus illustrates an important point for victims of car accidents in Oregon. Specifically, sometimes an accident is not so much due to negligence on the part of another driver but on account of a design or manufacturing flaw in one of the vehicles. In such cases, the law will make the manufacturer of the vehicle responsible to pay compensation for a victim’s injuries.
It is important to remember in this respect that, while Toyota has promised to fix the problem with these vehicles once consumers bring them in to the company’s dealers, the recall does not obligate Toyota to pay compensation to anyone who has been injured on account of this defect. A separate lawsuit would be required to ensure that they do so.