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Four plaintiffs have banded together to file a new class-action lawsuit against the Toyota Motor Corporation. They claim that the automaker designed a defective battery capable of causing engine fires and should be held liable for the damages. They seek to represent themselves and all others similarly situated in the U.S. and the states of Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Missouri.

Plaintiffs Recount Experiences of Toyota Spontaneous Fires

According to the complaint, each of the four plaintiffs had similar experiences with their Toyota vehicles.

Florida

The Florida plaintiff purchased a certified pre-owned 2018 Toyota Rav4 equipped with a 12V battery on March 19, 2021. The plaintiff believed it would be a safe and reliable vehicle. The sales representative said nothing about the battery being defective.

On May 5, 2021, the plaintiff was driving the vehicle when it experienced a sudden loss of power. She coasted to the side of the road and got out, then noticed smoke, sparks, and flames. She called 9-1-1 and emergency crews arrived to extinguish the fire.

As a result of this incident, the vehicle is now completely inoperable. The plaintiff has spent about $2,000 so far as a result of the problem.

Illinois

The Illinois plaintiff purchased a similar certified pre-owned 2018 Toyota RAV4 on April 18, 2019, believing it would be a safe and reliable vehicle. The sales representative reportedly said nothing about a defective battery.

On February 2021, the plaintiff returned from a trip in the vehicle and noticed a burning smell in his garage. He later learned this was connected to the defective battery.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire plaintiff bought a new 2018 Toyota RAV4 in January 2018, believing it would be safe and reliable. Then on May 12, 2020, she was driving it when she smelled a burning rubber odor. As she pulled over to the side of the road, she saw flames coming from the center console.

She got out quickly before the vehicle burned to its frame, taking all her possessions with it. She has spent about $10,000 as a result of the battery defect.

Missouri

The Missouri plaintiff purchased a new 2017 Toyota RAV4 on June 17, 2017, believing it would be safe and reliable. Again, nothing was reportedly said about a potentially defective battery. On July 16, 2020, the plaintiff’s spouse was driving when she began to notice smoke coming from the vehicle. She pulled over and got out quickly before the vehicle caught fire.

Emergency crews were able to extinguish the flames, but the RAV4 was deemed a complete loss. The plaintiff has spent about $6000 as a result of the battery defect.

NHTSA Points to 12V Battery as Cause of Most Toyota Engine Fires

The plaintiffs claim that Toyota knew or should have known about the battery defect that allegedly led to these incidences and to many others that have been reported by other Toyota owners.

The defect, according to the plaintiffs, causes electrical shorts when the battery’s terminals come into contact with the frame that holds the battery in place. When the battery short circuits, there may be a sudden loss of electrical power, vehicle stalling, and/or fire originating in the engine compartment.

On February 25, 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into these Toyota engine fires. In its investigation summary, it reported that the 12V battery was identified as the area of origin in a majority of the incidents reviewed.

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