Hyundai lawsuit jury awards $14 million to brain injury victim in defective airbag sensor case

by Michael Heygood

A jury has determined that the Hyundai Motor Co. must pay $14 million in damages to the family of a Virginia man who suffered traumatic brain injury after side airbags in a Hyundai car he was driving failed to deploy. Jurors in a state court in Pulaski County, Virginia deliberated for more than eight hours before finding that a defect in the car’s air-bag design was responsible for the injuries sustained by Zachary Duncan in the 2010 crash.

The lawsuit alleged that the airbags did not deploy because Hyundai put the sensors in the wrong location, under the driver’s seat instead of further out on the car. The suit alleged that Hyundai had conducted studies and knew about the potential risks with the sensor location. Hyundai argued that the car’s air-bag system met federal safety standards and had been thoroughly tested and found to be safe.

A first trial against Hyundai ended in a mistrial in 2012 after jurors deadlocked. The second trial began on June 17 and ran for two weeks.

Mr. Duncan was driving a 2008 Hyundai Tiburon. According to Duncan’s lawyers, the same air-bag sensor design at issue in the case was also present in Tiburons from model years 2003 until 2008.

HOP: Vehicle, Airbag and Tire Defect Litigation

Car, truck and tire manufacturers have a duty to build a product that is as safe as is reasonably possible under the present state of mechanical technology, vehicle design, and safety. Manufacturers are obligated to design vehicles and tires so that they are safe for any reasonably foreseeable use.

A lawsuit against a car or truck manufacturer could involve issues with air bags, child seats, glass, fuel fires, seat belts, rollover, tire failure, or roof crush as well as other potential problem areas. A lawsuit against a tire manufacturer could involve issues concerning premature wear and failure, tread separation, a blowout, or rollover accident.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident, it may well be that the injuries were caused or made worse because the vehicle was not properly designed or manufactured. In order to determine whether you may have a case, you need to retain experienced, qualified legal counsel at the earliest opportunity.

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have the experience, knowledge and expertise to pursue a product liability or personal injury claim against any of the major auto and tire manufacturers.

To speak with a lawyer about your case, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free case evaluation form.

by Michael Heygood

Michael Heygood is a licensed attorney and partner at HO&P who focuses on insurance and corporate litigation, and other civil arenas. Michael has been named multiple times to the Super Lawyers List.