Toyota is opening its wallet after settling a massive criminal investigation into the disclosure of faulty brakes and gas pedals in millions of its vehicles.
According to the Associated Press, the automaker will pay the U.S. government $1.2 billion in the settlement announced Wednesday.
But some drivers who were affected by the faulty vehicles say they’re not getting enough.
Woman Says Glitch Caused Crash
Ernestine Montgomery said she was part of a separate class-action lawsuit against Toyota and was thrilled to hear the company agreed to pay for issues associated with the sudden acceleration of vehicles.
"I pulled up to a space, and the car did not stop when I put my feet on the brakes," Montgomery said. "Like the accelerator was still on. It just jumped up into the wall."
Montgomery’s 2005 Toyota Camry crashed into a brick wall in 2006.
The crash caused almost $4,000 in damage.
"I’m ecstatic that they are finally settling the case,” she said. “But what they are giving the people – especially me – I felt is unjust."
Settlement Not What She Expected
Montgomery, one of the class-action plaintiffs, said she received an email from Toyota recently telling her she would participate in the final settlement.
But when she went to the official settlement website and looked up her payout, she said she was stunned at how little she received: less than $200.
"They're only offering me $195, and I don’t feel that is justice after everything I have been through," Montgomery said.
Montgomery said she had to pay for a rental car for two weeks while her car was repaired – and her insurance rates went up.
Her attorney said Toyota never determined that sudden acceleration was the reason her Camry crashed.
And because she did not file for injuries, she is only eligible for economic loss.
"I thought I was gonna’ get at least more money or a car or something out of it," she said.
A four-year criminal investigation conducted by the government focused on whether Toyota was forthright in reporting problems related to unintended acceleration troubles.
Starting in 2009, Toyota issued massive recalls, mostly in the U.S., totaling more than 10 million vehicles for various problems including faulty brakes, gas pedals and floor mats.
From 2010 through 2012, Toyota Motor Corp. paid fines totaling more than $66 million for delays in reporting unintended acceleration problems.
Montgomery’s attorney said the $1.2 billion settlement announced Wednesday does not set aside money for victims or car owners. Rather it is a fine, with the government and lawyers sharing most of the proceeds.
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