Hyundai has issued a recall for nearly 978,000 of its 2011-2015 Sonata and Sonata Hybrid vehicles due to possible seatbelt defects. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that the seatbelts in these vehicles may have the tendency to detach during a vehicular accident. The seatbelts were made by ZF-TRW, a manufacturing company based in Livonia, Michigan. But the problem has been attributed to the way the components were installed by Hyundai, and not with the product (seatbelt) itself.
The defect as reported by NHTSA can shed light into this. According to the report, the Hyundai Sonata’s front seatbelt assembly features an anchor pretensioner that is fastened to the inner sill structure of the vehicle. The anchor pretensioner is fastened into the sill during the assembly of the vehicle before it is connected to the seatbelt linkage. If the connector doesn’t completely latch when the seatbelt linkage is pressed onto the connector during assembly, then it means the seatbelt can detach from the anchor pretensioner.
Can a Personally Injury Lawyer Help with a Recall?
So far, there have only been two reports from vehicle owners about their seatbelts detaching during a vehicle collision and one of them led to a minor injury. The car manufacturer and ZF-TRW are still investigating the matter. Vehicle owners of around 977,778 vehicles registered in the United States will receive recall notices starting April 7. These include 2011-2015 models of the Sonata Hybrid and 2011-2014 models of the Sonata. If you receive a recall notification, you need to take your vehicle to the dealership where the repair of the seat restraint system will be done, at no charge to you. You may contact Hyundai at 1-855-371-9460 for more information. After making the call you can speak with a San Diego personal injury lawyer for more information.
Car Accidents Involving Seatbelt Failure
If you or a loved one was injured due to a seatbelt failure, you need to contact a law firm that specializes in auto defect cases. Make sure you choose a law firm with significant experience handling such cases. Keep in mind that police agencies may not have sufficient knowledge or means to thoroughly investigate incidents relating to defective auto parts, which may result in inaccurate findings and wrong conclusions. In fact, it’s not entirely uncommon for police officers to determine that the cause of injury was failure to wear a seatbelt when in fact, it was the seat restraint system that failed.
In such cases, an exhaustive investigation is needed. The body of the victim needs to be examined for evidence of seatbelt marking and bruising. The webbing should also be examined under a microscope for traces of blood stains, grabber marks and other indications that the seatbelt was used at the time of the accident.
When you have an experienced car accident attorney by your side, they can advise you on what you need to do and what the best recourse is for your particular case.