7 Insurers Sue Toyota Over Acceleration Crashes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seven insurance companies have sued Toyota Motor Corp. in an attempt to recover money paid to cover crashes they blame on sudden acceleration.

The insurers cite data that blames 725 crashes on the problem and fault the Japanese automaker for failing to equip its cars with an override system that would cause a car to idle if the brake and gas were deployed simultaneously. They are seeking damages in excess of $230,000 from 14 crashes throughout the United States.

The lawsuits allege that “certain of Toyota’s cars and trucks have a defect that causes sudden uncontrolled acceleration to speeds of up to 100 mph or more,” the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Toyota said the latest lawsuits were without merit.

“Toyota believes that any allegation that a vehicle-based defect is the cause of unintended acceleration in this or any other complaint is completely unfounded and has no basis,” Toyota spokeswoman Celeste Migliore told the Times.

The insurance companies are American Automobile Insurance Co., Fireman’s Fund Insurance, National Surety Corp., Ameriprise Insurance, IDS Property Casualty Insurance, Motorists Mutual Insurance and American Hardware Mutual Insurance.

The lawsuits were filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court. They follow the recent disclosure that Toyota paid $10 million to the family of four people killed in a runaway Lexus crash that led to recalls of millions of the automaker’s vehicles.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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