The U.S. Department of Transportation slapped Toyota with the maximum amount in civil penalties—about $32 million— last month for waiting longer than it legally should have to recall potentially unsafe vehicles.

In one case, the automaker recalled 50,000 floor mats in 2007 over concerns they might be causing sudden acceleration. The Department of Transportation determined, however, that Toyota didn’t recall the four million vehicles it should have until 2009, after at least one related deadly car accident in California. In another case, the Department of Transportation found that although Toyota had recalled nearly a million trucks and SUVs in 2005 because of concerns that their steering rods broke too easily, more than 40 owners of the cars had reported the problem before 2004.

Could there be clearer evidence automakers don’t always do what they should to protect drivers? If you have been injured in a car accident, and you believe it was due to an auto defect, contact Hodes Milman Liebeck’s personal injury attorneys, toll-free at (949) 640-8222 or via the contact form on our website, We’ve achieved million-dollar verdicts in product liability actions on behalf of our clients.