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US Crash Victim Files $95M Lawsuit against Kia Motors
Due to Brake Defects?
US Crash Victim Files $95M Lawsuit against Kia Motors
  • By Jung Min-hee
  • June 22, 2017, 06:15
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The Hills are suffering from car crashing accident accompanying the death of their 7-year-old twin sons John and James Hill on New Year’s Eve in 2015. (Photo Courtesy: Herald Chronicle)
The Hills are suffering from car crashing accident accompanying the death of their 7-year-old twin sons John and James Hill on New Year’s Eve in 2015. (Photo Courtesy: Herald Chronicle)


It has been found that Kia Motors was sued by the parents of twin brothers who died on December 31, 2015 from a collision occurring in Tennessee, USA, claiming for damages amounting to US$95 million.

According to Winchester-based news outlet Herald Chronicle, Aaron Hill and his wife, who reside in Coffee County, have filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court Eastern District of Tennessee on grounds Kia Motors and its parent company Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group should be responsible for the accident on New Year’s Eve in 2015, which killed their 7-year-old twin sons John and James Hill. Claiming the car maker’s negligence caused directly and proximately their sons to death, the parents are seeking US$35 million in compensatory damages and US$60 million in punitive damages.

When the collision occurred, the Hills stopped at the red light at the Dinah Shore Boulevard-Bypass Road intersection in Winchester city. The twin boys were in the back seat. The Hill family’s minivan was hit suddenly from behind by a 2008 Kia Optima, and the rear end of the Hills’ minivan collapsed and pushed into the front seat. The Kia car was driven by 83-year-old Mary Parks. The front end of the Kia car was nearly non-existent due to the crash. According to police reports, brakes appeared to have not been working at all, considering the speedometer in the Kia car had frozen at 90 miles an hour.

James died right after the crash. John was airlifted to Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center but to pass away. Aaron was also hurt seriously and his daughter Lynetta could be pulled from the wreckage after rescue crews could pry the door open wide enough to save her. Parks’ leg was badly mangled in the car. She was rushed to the hospital, but passed away later.

The Hills argue Kia Motors and Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group did not fulfill their duties to give warnings prior to the sale of the vehicle. They also claim that the electronic throttle control system and its components are highly susceptible to malfunction caused by various electronic failures, including faulty circuit boards, short circuits, software glitches and electromagnetic interference from sources outside the vehicle.

They say the 2008 Kia Optima model was defective because it had an inadequate fault detection system that could not anticipate foreseeable unwanted outcomes, including unintended acceleration. They also said in the lawsuit that the car model lacks a brake override system, meaning that the driver is unable to control the engine during a sudden unintended acceleration incident by stepping on the brakes.

”From at least 2002, the car maker knew or should have known that the electronic throttle control systems should have included a brake override system,” the Hills claim, adding, “The car maker is strictly liable for the damages to the plaintiffs as a result of the design, manufacture and distribution of the 2008 Kia Optima.”

California-based Kia Motors America denied that the subject vehicle had been suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated out of control, arguing that the company conformed the safety with the scientific and technological knowledge available to it when the subject vehicle was designed, manufactured and sold.

The Hills’ and Parks’ latest suits were filed at Winchester Office of Tennessee Eastern District Court on December 20 and 21, 2016, respectively. The defendants include Kia Motors America, Inc., Kia Motors Corporation, Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc., Hyundai Motor Company, Hyunda Motor America.

In the meantime, the issue of speed control problems on the Kia Optima model have been raised up to even now since its launch in 2000, including the 2016 model. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating the complaints from customers.