Hyundai has issued a vehicle defect recall for more than half a million Sonata sedans from the 2011-2013 model years for an electrical issue, which could cause the airbags and seatbelt pretensioners to be disabled in the event of a crash. According to a report on Car and Driver, the company is aware of two deaths and four injuries linked to four car accidents in which electrical damage was found in the airbag control unit of the 2011 Sonatas. The fifth incident in Canada that resulted in one fatality is currently under investigation.
Airbags and Seatbelts May Fail
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigation also reported two other incidents involving 2012 and 2013 Kia Fortes. The six car accidents resulted in four fatalities and six injuries, NHTSA says. The airbag control unit on both Sonata and Forte vehicles are supplied by ZF-TRW, but so far, Kia has neither announced a recall nor mentioned if there is one in the works. A similar issue with the ZF-TRW part at Fiat Chrysler led to the recall of 1.4 million vehicles in 2016.
A Hyundai spokesman said the Sonata owners can continue to drive the vehicles because it is an issue that has only been identified in a small number of vehicles in a very specific and rare type of accident. However, officials say owners of affected Sonata vehicles should prioritize the recall once there is a remedy and take their vehicles to dealers if the airbag warning light is on. Hyundai is expecting to come up with a remedy soon.
Compensation for Those Affected
The Korean automaker has been investigating the short-circuited airbag control units since 2012. In February 2018, the company recalled 154,753 Sonatas from the 2011 model year for the same issue, but the recall has now been expanded to include another 425,305 Sonatas from the 2012-2013 model years and Sonata hybrids from the 2011-2012 model years, bringing the total to 580,058 sedans affected. To check if your vehicle has been affected, you can enter your vehicle identification number or VIN into NHTSA’s website.
If you have been injured as a result of these or other auto defects, you may be able to file an auto product liability lawsuit against the automaker or parts manufacturer seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization and pain and suffering. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to pursue a lawsuit and obtain maximum compensation for your losses.