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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

CAS Petitions NHTSA to Investigate Car Fires in Hyundai and Kia Models

by Jared Staver in Product Liability

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is facing pressure from a consumer watchdog to investigate complaints about car fires. The Center for Auto Safety filed an official petition with the NHTSA to investigate, pointing at an unusual number of consumer complaints of spontaneous fires in Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

Illinois law holds that a manufacturer or distributor may be held liable for harm caused by defects in their products. If you, or someone you know, was injured as a result of a product’s design flaw, you may be entitled to compensation.

In this situation, you should contact a skilled product liability lawyer for help. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., our attorneys have the experience to guide you through every step of your claim and ensure your rights are entirely protected. Call (312) 236-2900 today for a free consultation.

Unprompted Fires Lead To Complaints

The petition filed by the CAS references 120 complaints, all filed about models manufactured between 2011 and 2014. The complaints concerned the Kia Optima, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Sonata, and the Hyundai Santa Fe, and all 120 of the claims noted a fire without a preceding collision. In addition to the spontaneous fires, there were 229 reported complaints of melted wires being discovered. This indicates smaller, more contained fires.

One of the complaints details the experience of a 2012 Hyundai Sonata owner in North Carolina. The man returned from shopping in November 2013 to find his car covered in flames. Upon a subsequent investigation, an electrical short in the car’s wiring was found to have caused a pile of leaves under the vehicle to ignite.

The Amount of Car Fire Complaints is Cause For Concern

Jason Levine, executive director of the CAS, says it’s not uncommon for auto manufacturers to produce vehicles that occasionally catch on fire. More concerning, however, is the volume of complaints that have been received about the Kia and Hyundai vehicles. The rate of fire complaints from Hyundai and Kia owners is far higher than among owners of other vehicles manufactured around the same time.

Kia and Hyundai operate as separate business units, but the same parent company controls them. Furthermore, the Kia Sorento and Optima are manufactured in the same plant, which also happens to produce the Hyundai Santa Fe. While by no means conclusive, the shared origins of the vehicle may make it more likely that a shared defect is responsible for the fires.

NHTSA Says It Will Respond to Car Fire Petition As Needed

By law, the NHTSA has to respond to a petition for the investigation of a defect within 120 days. Representatives have acknowledged awareness of the CAS petition and said they would take whatever action is deemed necessary.

Hyundai and Kia have also said they are aware of the investigation into their vehicles. Both companies reaffirmed their confidence in the safety of their cars while agreeing to cooperate with the NHTSA during the investigation.

Injured By a Defective Car? Get Help From a Product Liability Attorney

Manufacturers must make sure their products are safe for you to buy. If you’ve been injured because of a design flaw in something you bought, this may indicate the manufacturer failed to fulfill their responsibility.

A knowledgeable Chicago product liability lawyer will be able to tell you whether you’re entitled to compensation for your injury. You may feel overwhelmed dealing with the effects of injuries that someone else’s carelessness caused. Our team at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help get your life back on track. Contact us at (312) 236-2900 today for a free consultation of your case.