Streamwood family hopeful Toyota will settle their lawsuit - KMSP-TV

Streamwood family hopeful Toyota will settle their lawsuit

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Three years ago, FOX 32 reported on a Streamwood man who was killed while behind the wheel of his Toyota Corolla. His family claimed it was a case of unintended sudden acceleration, and remarkably, the entire incident was caught on surveillance cameras.

Now, the Toyota company has indicated its willing to settle many of these cases, rather than fight them in court.

In May of 2010, Leo Przbylowski was leaving a South Elgin strip mall when he backed into one parked car, then sped forward ramming into another parked car. He then pushed that car out of the way, swerving to avoid hitting the strip mall and crashed into a brick wall.

The 87-year-old Przbylowski died from the accident, but before passing away, he said the car had taken off like a jackrabbit, and he just couldn't stop it.

Toyota has blamed similar accidents on driver error, bad floor mats or sticking gas pedals.

In this lawsuit, Przbylowski's family blames the Corolla's electronic throttle control system.

"All of these cases that are pending, all these claims that are being made, people just aren't making it up," says attorney Martin Dolan. "There's something wrong with the system."

Last week, Toyota said it's now willing to settle hundreds of similar cases, rather than go to trial, saying:

"This process will bring greater efficiency to the resolution of pending cases and provide a clear path forward for those claims that cannot be resolved outside of trial."

The new strategy follows a $3 million verdict in Oklahoma where a jury found that Toyota acted with reckless disregard concerning complaints of sudden acceleration.

"This is knowledge on the part of somebody at Toyota that there is a problem and it was disregarded, it was ignored. And the safety of the general public is at issue, not anything else," says Dolan.

The Przbylowski case is not among the hundreds covered by the settlement talks in California, but Dolan says the his clients will now be contacting Toyota to see if settlement talks could begin soon.

The L.A. Times reports that Toyota has paid up to $2 billion in legal fees alone, fighting these lawsuits. Obviously that's one incentive for Toyota to settle these cases, rather than follow them through to trial.

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