Allstate sues Toyota over sudden acceleration accident claims

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An Allstate Insurance Co. branch storefront.

Allstate is suing Toyota in an attempt to recover over $3 million paid out in claims linked to sudden acceleration. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Colin/Flickr)

The Toyota recall that focused on problems with sudden acceleration has drawn a great deal of negative attention for the automaker. Automotive News reports that Allstate Insurance Co. is now ready to pile on. Allstate has sued Toyota in an attempt to recover over $3 million paid out in accident claims related to the sudden acceleration issue.

Allstate sues Toyota, then Insurer B sues, then Insurer C…

Toyota’s massive economic losses stemming from the sudden acceleration problem may accelerate if the Los Angeles Superior Court where Allstate filed the lawsuit has anything to say about it. Allstate spokeswoman Christina Loznicka told Reuters that Allstate fully expects other insurance companies to join the fight against Toyota. Allstate’s claims essentially duplicate the current consumer class action against the automaker. The sudden acceleration problem, according to Allstate’s action, stems from a defective electronic throttle system that Toyota allegedly covered up, rather than enacting a recall back in the 1990s when the throttle system was introduced. Property damage, injuries and fatalities were the measured result.

Toyota insists Allstate’s suit has no basis

Allstate’s request for $3 million plus pales in comparison to the $10 billion Toyota could conceivably owe in U.S. civil liability. However, once other auto insurance companies join the fray, multiple that $3 million or more by every company with Toyota customers affected by the sudden acceleration debacle.

Toyota spokesman Steven Curtis told Automotive News that while the automaker has not perused Allstate’s action in detail, “based on reports, (Toyota) believes the unfounded allegations in this suit have no basis.” Company engineers continue to maintain that there has not been a single observed case where an electronics fault caused sudden acceleration, says Toyota’s Chief Quality Officer, Steve St. Angelo.

Silver lining: 80 percent fewer claims since April

According to Toyota’s North American manufacturing group, sudden acceleration problems are down 80 percent since April 2010. At that time, writes Automotive News, Toyota “instituted a new approach to handling those complaints.” Curiously, the publication does not elaborate as to what “a new approach” means.

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