VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Lawsuit suggests risks exist even when there's no car accident or collision

You don't have to be involved in a car accident or collision to be at risk of serious personal injury when you are on the road. Whether driving across Florida from east to west, or from north to south, danger exists if a defective part in your vehicle fails without warning.

This happens more often than you might think. As we noted in a recent blog post, in 2017 alone the number of vehicle recalls hit an astounding 42 million - 2018 has been somewhat better. As of last month, about 29 million vehicles were under recall. But based on recent news reports, an update to those numbers may be in order. In fact, if a story by the ABC affiliate in Tampa Bay is accurate, it's possible that some of the problems being reported lately might be the result of repairs made as a result of previous recalls.

Fires without collisions

The issue making headlines involves five vehicle models made by South Korean car makers Kia and Hyundai. According to the reports, a group of more than 350 U.S. drivers are engaged in a class-action suit claiming that a design defect limits the flow of oil to vital engine parts. The result is that those parts wear out faster than they should, and can cause the engine to seize up and even catch fire.

In one case cited by ABC Action News, a Polk County family that had recall work performed on their 2013 Kia Sorento this past summer barely made it out of the vehicle alive. The vehicle's engine caught fire just a few weeks after the recall repairs were made.

As of now, there are no known reports of injury or death from these non-collision related fires. Regulators have not issued any new recalls but there is pressure for them to do just that. The pending class-action suit might add weight to those demands.

To be clear, vehicle owners bear a large measure of responsibility for safety on the road. That doesn't mean that car makers can abdicate their obligation to ensure that the products they sell are safe when they come off the production line, or out of the garage after a recall repair. When product defects lead to injuries, victims, and also their families in wrongful death actions, have the right to seek compensation. These car manufacturers and others should expect to be held accountable.

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