Louisiana motorists may be interested to learn that Kia and Hyundai are being sued by U.S. drivers for manufacturing vehicles that had engines that caught fire without being involved in collisions. More than 350 complaints from drivers were sent to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the concealment of the defect. The class-action lawsuit was filed on Dec. 14 in the U.S. District Court in Central California.
Regulators started investigating the issue in Theta II engines due to a perceived lack of urgency in the recalls. In addition to facing a lawsuit, the two Korean automakers are also under criminal investigation from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. According to reports, the automakers recalled 1.6 million affected vehicles between 2011 and 2014.
The lawsuit alleges that defects in engines restricted the flow of oil, causing excessive wear and tear and eventually leading to seizure and fire. While representatives from Hyundai have yet to comment about the lawsuit specifically, they did state in a press release that they were cooperating with U.S. authorities investigating the issue. More than a million vehicles with the engine defect may still be on the road.
Victims with injuries that resulted from vehicle defects may be able to obtain compensation from the responsible automakers through a products liability claim. The first step is to get an initial consultation from a lawyer who can examine the situation and recommend options. An attorney may wish to include the victim in a larger class-action lawsuit or represent the client as an individual.