South Korean automaker Hyundai is recalling 977,778 Sonatas and Sonata Hybrid vehicles for defective seatbelts that could leave vehicle occupants vulnerable to serious injury in the event of a crash. According to Autoblog.com, the seatbelts in these vehicles could detach from their anchor pretensioners, which could lead to an injury.
This recall affects 2010 cars including the 2011-2014 standards Sonatas built from December 11, 2009 to May 29, 2014 and 2011-2015 Sonata Hybrids built from December 2, 2010 to January 9, 2015.
Manufacturing Defect Spurs Recall
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website, the Sonatas may not have had the seatbelt properly attached to the anchor pretensioner during the manufacturing process. NHTSA’s recall website states that the seatbelt in these vehicles is connected to the anchor after the latter has been installed and it’s possible that the seatbelt did not completely latch on to the anchor during assembly.
If the seatbelt was not properly attached at the time, it could separate from the anchor during a crash, potentially resulting in an injury. So far, Hyundai has reported one injury to NHTSA. No fatalities have been reported.
Owners who have these vehicles are asked to bring their vehicles in to dealerships to have the seatbelt assembly inspected in order to ensure that the seatbelt is properly latched. If not the dealer will reattach it properly at no cost to consumers. Hyundai will start sending out recall alerts to owners of these vehicles starting April 7. For more information, vehicle owners may call Hyundai at 1-855-371-9460. You can also enter your vehicle identification number or VIN on NHTSA’s website to check if your car is a part of this recall.
The Danger of Seatbelt Defects
Seatbelt defects can have tragic consequences. When seat restraint systems fail, catastrophic injuries or even fatalities could occur. We count on our vehicles’ seatbelts to restrain us and offer some security in the event of a crash. However, when seatbelts do not work as intended, a vehicle occupant might get partially or completely ejected from the vehicle causing the victim to get run over by other vehicles or to suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries, or can interfere with the door latch properly opening.
Often, we also find that police officers make the wrong determination that occupants weren’t wearing their seatbelts in crashes where occupants were ejected. This is because many law enforcement agencies don’t have the knowledge or resources to investigate auto defect cases. This is why it is important to victims and their families to preserve the vehicle and contact an experienced Sacramento auto defect lawyer who can help determine the facts of the case and pursue damages.
In such cases, the automaker and/or the manufacturer of the defective seat restraint system can be held accountable for victims’ injuries, damages and losses. Call the Demas Law Group P.C., at (916) 444-0100 to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.