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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Hyundai ordered to pay millions for alleged defective product

The concept underlying product safety is that companies are responsible for ensuring the effectiveness and safe operation of the products they sell to the public. This basis of trust can be undermined, however, by a negligent manufacturer who knowingly or inadvertently makes an inherently dangerous product as a result of a design defect.

Such appears to be the determination by a Montana jury, which recently held the auto manufacturer Hyundai liable as a result of a car accident in which three individuals were tragically killed. In addition to compensatory damages, the jury also directed that Hyundai pay $240 million in punitive damages, apparently based on the jury’s belief that the car maker acted maliciously.

Representatives of Hyundai remain adamant, despite the verdict, that the automobile that the three crash victims were riding in was not defective. Not surprisingly, given the large amount of the punitive damages award, the company has stated through a representative that it will appeal both the verdict and the damages amount. Whether the company will succeed in its appeal will likely depend on whether they can demonstrate that some type of mistake or oversight took place at the trial court.

If you are involved in a case where product liability might be a factor, it may be a good idea to seek the advice of a legal professional to help you understand your options, not only for redress of your actual injuries but also to determine whether the manufacturer of the defective product should be held accountable in the broader sense of punitive damages liability.

Source: KTVQ, "Hyundai will appeal $248 million verdict in Montana crash case," Brenda Bassett, May 15, 2014

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