Connecting over 25 millions NRIs worldwide
Most trusted Name in the NRI media
Raminder Singh-


NRI family seeks $5 million from Toyota Motor Corp. for faulty seat belt

Stockton, California, November 27, 2007
Jasdev Singh

NRI Raminder Singh, 60, of Woodbridge was killed in January 2003 when he began to pass a slow-moving minivan south of Armstrong Road and his car skidded off, hit a cherry tree and caught fire. His son Gurinder "Goldy" Singh, then 14, survived the crash.

In a lawsuit in which a Woodbridge family claims Toyota Motor Corp. is liable for the death of a man the family said was trapped by a defective seat belt inside his burning car after a crash.

Gurinder Singh, his mother and two half brothers seek about $5 million in damages for a death they say the car maker could have prevented by doing more extensive tests of the car's risk for post-crash fires, and by modifying the 2002 model's rigid seatbelt design.

Gurinder Singh, now 19 said:

  • On Monday at a news conference in Stockton that he was able to unlatch his seat belt and get out, but that neither he nor his father nor passers-by could free Raminder Singh. He said his father looked at him as fire consumed the car.
  • I just watched my father burn to death.

The family's attorney said:

  • A seat belt mechanism in Raminder Singh's 2002 Toyota Corolla bent on impact, preventing it from being unlatched.
  • The belt was unsafe and that Toyota also failed to test the Corolla adequately for a fire hazard in a crash. 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
  • From the day our kids are born, we put them in seat belts. We've been compelled by the law, by newspapers, to put them in seat belts.
  • The seat belt pinned this person in the car to be burned to death. That's what this case is all about.

Defense lawyer Patrick Becherer told jurors:

  • Raminder Singh died after the car experienced "severe damages" caused when it collided with the cherry tree traveling between 43 and 50 mph.
  • This is a case about responsibility for your actions.
  • The evidence will show that this tragic death was unnecessary, and the crash was caused by the driver's misjudgment.
  • Singh died before the fire started. The force of such a crash is equivalent to falling off a 68-floor building

Toyota in Japan released a statement saying it was "tackling quality problems as a top priority."

The trial got underway the same day an Alameda County woman's whistle blower lawsuit became news. A long-term employee at a Toyota-General Motors plant, she alleges that Toyota superiors demoted her when she pointed out flaws in various parts of the Corolla, including seat belts.


Now question arise:

  • Is the seat belt used in 1.2 million Toyota Corollas across the United States unsafe, or did it have nothing to do with a Woodbridge man's death in a 2003 car wreck?
  • Did his 2002 Corolla burn because the engine compartment has a bad design due to limited crash testing, or was he solely at fault for the crash?




Gurinder "Goldy" Singh, 14, survived the crash in 2003. Now he is 19

Raminder Singh's wife Kasmir Kaur