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Wrongful death suit brought against Kia for 2010 crash

Two individuals who recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit are hoping to receive compensation for their medical bills and court costs. The plaintiffs have alleged that Kia Motors knowingly allowed a defective product to be put on the market. That allegedly defective product -- if this is true --contributed to the death of a female they both knew.

The wrongful death suit was filed in Madison County, Illinois earlier this month. According to records, one of the plaintiffs and the deceased woman were driving in a Kia Optima during March 2010. Heading east on Berm Highway/Illinois Route 143, the two were rear-ended by a drunk driver who has also been named as a defendant in the suit. He was driving a Chevy Malibu at the time.

After the Chevy collided with the back of the Kia, emergency responders supposedly found both individuals in the Kia, still strapped in to their seats. The air bags had deployed but the seats had collapsed rearward, allegedly causing spinal injuries to both individuals. Both were hospitalized but in May 2010, one of them died. Her family believes that her death was caused by complications from the injuries she received -- a collapsed lung and a broken back -- supposedly due to the defective seats.

Kia Motors, the drunk driver, Johnson Controls Inc. and Weber Granite City Chevrolet Company are the defendants listed in the lawsuit. Weber Granite City Chevrolet Company sold the Kia Optima to the driver in July 2009. Johnson Controls Inc. made the front seats for the vehicle.

According to the plaintiffs, neither Kia Motors nor Johnson Controls Inc. properly tested the seats so that this situation could have been avoided. Better rear-end crash tests may have saved the life of this woman, according to the suit. Moreover, the plaintiffs allege that both companies have previously testified in court, supposedly admitting to an intention for the front seats in the Optima to fail during a rear-impact accident.

The defendants have been accused of failing to warn customers of a product's dangers, negligence for marketing a known defective product and wrongful death.

Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, "Kia Motors sued on wrongful death claims; Suit says Optima's seats collapsed in accident," Andrea Dearden, March 21, 2012

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