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Toyota faces wrongful death claim for unsafe product design

A 29-year-old Florida woman died from carbon monoxide poisoning in her Boca Raton townhouse. The carbon monoxide came from her Lexus that was running in the garage attached to her townhome. Her boyfriend, who was also in the townhome at the time, was found clinging to life.

The woman's family has recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Toyota, the company that manufactures Lexus, over their keyless ignition system. The lawsuit claims that Toyota's unsafe design of its keyless ignition cars, places consumers at risk of death. Apparently, there are no safety features to turn off the ignition after a certain amount of time, which could have prevented this tragic death.

Keyless ignition is supposed to be a convenient feature on vehicles that allows drivers to start and stop their cars with the push of a button, rather than having to find their keys. However, keyless ignition systems have been the subject of several consumer complaints to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration concerning the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if cars are inadvertently left running. In fact, several other deaths have occurred nationwide because of keyless ignition systems. This is the second wrongful death lawsuit brought against Toyota.

The family is also bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against the owners of the woman's premises claiming that the Florida townhome was improperly ventilated. The lawsuit claims that if the carbon monoxide fumes did not vent into the home, then their loved one would still be alive.

Owners of buildings have a responsibility to ensure that the people who live there are safe. The owner of the townhouse complex says that it will comply with the investigation into the cause of the woman's death in order to determine if they are responsible for premises liability because of improper ventilation in the townhome.

Source: upi.com, "Toyota sued over carbon monoxide death," 15 June 2011

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