A Toyota Corolla sedan and Matrix wagon sit on the lot at a dealership in 2007.
(USA Today)-- Toyota has entered talks to settle hundreds of state and federal lawsuits alleging their cars had defects that could cause them to accelerate on their own and crash.
The two judges in charge of the cases that have been consolidated issued orders Thursday saying that Toyota was now involved the intensive settlement process,the Los Angeles Times reports.
That puts all the cases in their courtrooms on ice until the outcome.
Settlement talks begin in February. If deals can't be reached, they go to a mediator and only then, if that doesn't work either in reaching an agreement, will they go to trial.
Toyota's ability to defend itself in so many cases wasn't helped by a jury verdict in Oklahomain October. There, a jury recommended a $3 million award to the victims of a unintended acceleration case in which a Toyota Camry crashed. The recommendation was forestalled by a settlement of that case, and came before the jury could address punitive damages.
Check out some of our most read stories from 2013:
#shortyellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights
Terrorism Warning: Memo says terrorists practicing dry-runs on Florida flights
Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children
Courtroom apology: Woman apologizes for flipping off judge
Weird ice: Strange, giant circles appear on frozen pond
Controversial Club: College student organizes "White Student Union"
CFO Trouble: School administrative chief in trouble over her porn sex blog
Warning Shot Wife: Mother gets 20 years for firing warning shots at abusive husband
Science Arrest: Teen girl arrested over science project explosion
Wait, WHAT?? Dog shoots man in the leg with a handgun
Popular photo galleries:
Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers
Trayvon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos
Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant
Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV***warning graphic***
Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole
Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here
Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here