Hyundai and Kia Owners Share Harrowing Videos of Spontaneous Car Fires amid Growing Class-Action Lawsuit
Videos show raging fires along highways, in crowded garages and outside homes. Law firm calls on automakers to act.
LOS ANGELES – Hagens Berman, consumer-rights law firm representing owners of certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles prone to spontaneous engine fires, has filed an amended lawsuit against the automakers with added plaintiffs and harrowing footage of the potentially deadly fires attorneys say are being willfully ignored by Hyundai and Kia.
“Our clients have sent us horrifying photos and videos left and right of burning cars, spontaneous fires and completely destroyed engines,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman.
“We don’t want to see another avoidable vehicle fire because of this defect, period,” Berman added. “How many people have to endure this potentially life-threatening situation before Hyundai and Kia act? We don’t think someone should have to be burned before Hyundai and Kia stop hiding behind concealment, cover-ups and inadequate recalls.”
According to the Center for Auto Safety, there has already been one death and a few injuries associated with these vehicle fires.
Affected vehicles include: 2011-2019 Hyundai Sonata, 2013-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, 2011- 2019 Kia Optima, 2012-2019 Kia Sorento, 2012-2019 Kia Soul and 2011-2019 Kia Sportage. If you own an affected Hyundai or Kia vehicle you may be at risk. Find out your rights to potential compensation.
The lawsuit’s plaintiffs purchased their vehicles under the belief that Hyundai and Kia were selling them reliable, safe cars. Many of the 16 owners named in the suit have not had their vehicles recalled for an engine defect. Others had their engines tested or replaced under recalls, but still experienced the defect leading to engine failure and/or fire.
About the Defect Causing Spontaneous Fires in Hyundai and Kia Cars
The defect at the center of the suit affects Hyundai and Kia vehicles equipped with certain gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines and “presents consumers with an unacceptable risk of their vehicles spontaneously bursting into flames,” according to the lawsuit.
The defect prevents proper oil flow to the engine’s vital moving parts, causing premature wear and failure. When the parts fail, the engine seizes and stops running during operation. Engine seizure often causes these internal parts to break and knock a hole in the engine, allowing fluids to leak and ignite a fire.
Along with creating a severe driving hazard and increasing the chance of injury or death, the end result of the engine defect is serious, extensive and expensive damage to the engine and/or total loss of the vehicle, according to the suit.
“Hyundai and Kia Knew”
“Make no mistake, Hyundai and Kia knew about this defect before these cars were sold,” Berman said. “More than 350 consumer complaints about these spontaneous fires have been submitted to NHTSA, and Hyundai and Kia have blatantly ignored these, as well as requests from Congress to appear and answer questions regarding the issue.”
The lawsuit states that Hyundai and Kia knew the defect posed an “unreasonable risk,” yet the automakers have concealed the defect, minimized the scope, cause, and dangers of the defect with inadequate recalls, and refused to investigate, address, and remedy the defect as it pertains to affected vehicles.
The lawsuit seeks to recoup losses vehicle owners have faced, including expensive repairs, car rentals, car payments, towing charges, time off work and other miscellaneous costs. Attorneys are also asking the court for injunctive relief that could include an order requiring Hyundai and Kia to repair, recall and/or replace the affected vehicles, as well as requests for monetary relief.
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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with 10 offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at https://www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.
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