In July 2011, two teenage cousins, Tanner Olsen and Trevor Olsen, were killed as a result of a head-on crash, in which a passenger in the other vehicle passed away as well. Survivors of the cousins brought suit against Hyundai, alleging that the collision was the result of a defect in the vehicle’s steering. It is their belief that the defective steering knuckle spontaneously cracked and that caused the vehicle to swerve into oncoming traffic. The two cousins’ had been driving in a 2005 Hyundai Tiburon.
Hyundai asserts that the driver of the Tiburon, Trevor Olsen, swerved into the other vehicle after being startled by a firecracker, which they further allege the teens were setting off inside the car. After 10 hours of deliberating the jury however found in favor of the survivor’s of the deceased cousins and awarded $248.6 million, which included $8.6 million in compensatory damages and $240 million in punitive damages. The company has described the Montana jury award “outrageous” according to the Associated Press. Hyundai has publicly stated its intentions to appeal the holding.
Companies recall vehicles often due to later discovered defects or oversights in manufacturing. If not caught soon enough these defects can result in serious injury or death to consumers.