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Failure to deploy leads to damages payout

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Last week, a US jury said Hyundai Motors must pay $14m (£9m) in damages to the family of a man who suffered traumatic brain injury after side airbags in a Hyundai car he was driving failed to deploy.

South Korea's Hyundai has said that it disagrees with the verdict and it plans to appeal against the decision.

Although an American case, when pursuing a claim for damages as a result of a road traffic accident, it is something to take into account when considering liability for the injuries sustained. It is heartening to know that a company as large as Hyundai Motors can be held solely responsible for injuries sustained by a driver of one of their motor vehicles because of their failure to meet their statutory duty. The claimant’s family’s representative has stated that this is ‘an important victory for our client and for public safety’ and I am sure that similar accidents happen in this county.

It is unclear whether Hyundai Motors are going to recall their product for further testing and to reassure the public of its safety. Industry watchdogs, who have been following this case closely, have hinted that this may be an isolated incident and that Hyundai Motors have a very good safety record.

Writers are suggesting that this is an inflated damages payment given the litigious nature of the American legal system. However, without knowing the full extent of the man’s injuries and losses it is difficult to comment on the amount of damages awarded.

In any event, I hope that this case will ensure that car manufacturers complete vigorous safety checks prior selling any vehicle to the public and warn them of the repercussions of their failure to do so.

By Laura Wilson, trainee solicitor in the personal injury department

If you, or anyone you know, has sustained an injury due to a road traffic accident or alternately, the failure of a product to act appropriately, then please contact our personal injury department, to speak to a specialist advisor on 01616 966 229 to see if we can assist you in bringing a claim for damages.