Attorneys with consumer-rights law firm Hagens Berman announced that the firm has reached a settlement with Hyundai that allows some owners to return defective vehicles if the company cannot repair them.
The settlement addresses allegations that the airbags in some 2007-2009 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover vehicles failed to deploy in some types of collisions.
In response to the lawsuit, Hyundai has ordered a recall of about 200,000 vehicles, the latest in a series of recalls totaling about 1.3 million vehicles that began in 2006.
“We negotiated a settlement that’s very favorable to consumers, giving Hyundai owners the ability to return their vehicle if the settlement’s software upgrade does not fully solve the problem,” said Hagens Berman attorney Rob Carey, who represents the Santa Fe owners. “This is especially important when it comes to something as critical as an airbag, a safety feature mandated by federal law.”
The settlement will be filed in court by Aug. 17, 2012. Once it’s on file, it must be approved by the court, but the recall will occur even if the settlement is not approved.
Hagens Berman has handled numerous automotive safety defect cases in recent years and is co-lead counsel in the Toyota sudden, unintended acceleration (SUA) case in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
“Whether it’s a class action to cure the problem or a single suit on behalf of an injured family, settlements addressing airbag and OCS defects have to be handled with the utmost care. Unfortunately, it seems that lawsuits are the only way to force automakers to address safety issues,” said Carey. “Vigilant consumers can help consumers who believe their cars have a safety defect should come forward because it can help save lives.”