Family of Lodi father alleges that Toyota designed a firetrap with defective seatbelts and failed to safety test in real world conditions
STOCKTON, Calif.– LAWFUEL – The Law Firm Newswire –A San Joaquin County jury is expected to hear opening arguments tomorrow by attorneys representing the in a lawsuit (Singh v. Toyota Motor Corporation, Case CV023159) that alleges that Toyota Motor Corporation failed to test the design for the Toyota Corolla in real world conditions, making the vehicle a fire hazard and the seat belts a death trap.
“When consumers purchase a car they have a reasonable expectation that the seat belts will work properly and that they will unlatch in a 40 miles per hour crash,” said lead attorney Lou Franecke, Franecke Law Group, San Rafael, California.
Nearly five years ago, Gurinder Singh watched his father Raminder Singh burn to death in a car accident. Both father and son were wearing seat belts when the Toyota Corolla driven by the elder Singh was forced off the road by the driver of another vehicle.
In depositions, the younger Singh claims he released his seatbelt, escaped the car then watched as his efforts and those of valiant bystanders failed in unlatching the elder Singh’s seatbelt. The flames intensified and the Toyota Corolla eventually erupted in flames burning Raminder Singh to death as his son and bystanders watched in horror.
The lawsuit filed by the family of Raminder Singh alleges that Toyota did not design nor test the Corolla in real world conditions for a fire hazard in a driver side head-on collision. “By placing the battery and electrical components in proximity to the fuel line, the Toyota Corolla is designed to be a potentially explosive device upon a driver side head-on collision leaving you vulnerable to being trapped and burned to death,” said family attorney Mohinder Mann, Mann Law Firm, San Jose, California.
The lawsuit also alleges that Toyota did not follow the standards used by a majority of American car manufacturers in designing the seat belt latch for the Corolla. “Toyota is one of the few remaining manufacturers still using a rigid metal seat belt latch in their Corolla that bends and makes it impossible to unlatch the seat belt and escape the vehicle. Toyota never tested their seat belt design to see if the latch would work properly in the real world,” said Franecke.
The lawsuit alleges that Singh became a casualty of Toyota’s seat belt latch. “Singh was trapped by the seatbelt and burned to death in front of his son and bystanders. Imagine the horror of watching your child or loved one burned to death if you could not unlatch the seatbelt,” said Mann.