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Colorado lawsuit filed against Toyota in fatal car accident

Patricia M. Jarzobski

On March 22, 2011, a father and his 10-year-old son were killed in a horrific car accident. Their Toyota sport utility vehicle was struck head-on by another vehicle on U.S Highway 160. Following the impact, their vehicle burst into flames. Now the victims' surviving family members, who were also injured in the fatal car accident, are bringing a case against Toyota, alleging that failures in the vehicle's impact-management system were at least partly to blame for the deaths.

The Colorado mother and wife of the two victims, along with her 12-year-old son, were able to escape the flaming SUV, but they were seriously burned. The man driving the other vehicle was killed. Authorities allege that he was to blame for the accident because he drifted across the centerline and hit the family head-on. The man was allegedly driving under the influence of medication at the time of the incident. Both vehicles caught fire, but the family who is bringing the legal action blames Toyota for the fire.

According to the complaint, the collision of the two vehicles resulted in the Toyota's drive-shaft penetrating into the fuel system. Vapor and liquid gas caught fire and consumed the family's vehicle. The surviving family members, who the complaint says suffered permanent disability, are seeking financial compensation to cover their medical care, lost earnings and other compensation. In response, Toyota has denied that it is responsible for any wrongdoing.

Colorado personal injury and wrongful death claims sometimes involve elements, which are not immediately apparent. For example, in this fatal car accident, the tendency might be to assign all the blame to the individual who drifted across the centerline and caused the impact. However, closer examination of such incidents may reveal that another individual or company's negligence played a role in the injuries. Some accidents may involve unmaintained roads, a third and previously unknown driver or another factor that is only revealed via a painstaking and detailed examination of factual evidence in the case.

Source: durangoherald.com, Deadly car crash spurs lawsuit, Shane Benjamin, Dec. 7, 2013

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