Hyundai Motor America vowed to appeal a $248-million verdict awarded to the families of two boys who were killed in a 2011 crash involving an allegedly defective 2005 Hyundai Tiburon. The verdict was handed by a jury in Lake County, Mont., after a two-week trial, according to lawyer Mark Williams, who represented the family of Tanner Olson.
Tanner and cousin Trevor Olson were killed when their vehicle was involved in a crash. Trevor was the car at the time. was being driven by Trevor. Following a 12-hour deliberation, jurors found that Hyundai Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor America had acted with "actual malice," and awarded the boys' families a total of around $8 million in damages for their losses.
The jurors also ordered Hyundai and its US subsidiary to further pay $240 million in punitive damages, Williams disclosed. The boys’ families claimed that a part in the 2005 Hyundai Tiburon – the steering knuckle – was defective, blaming it for causing the accident.
They said that the steering knuckle spontaneously cracked and caused the Tiburon to swerve into another vehicle. Hyundai, however, said it cannot be blamed for the accident, saying that exploding fireworks in the vehicle had caused the driver to lose control, according to a statement from the carmaker.
Hyundai spokesman Chris Hosford disclosed that the carmaker is planning to immediately appeal the verdict, saying that it is "outrageous, and should be overturned as Hyundai is not at fault."