The parents of two 7-year-old twin boys have decided to file a lawsuit seeking $95 million in damages against a large car manufacturing company. They claim the company's actions led to a fatal accident that claimed the lives of their sons.
Aaron Hill and his wife, Lynetta Hill, are seeking $35 million in compensatory damages and $60 million in punitive damages from Kia Motors and its parent company Hyundai-Kia Automotive. They claim that these companies are responsible for the adverse event that occurred on New Year's Eve a little more than a year ago.
According to the Tennessee family's lawsuit, the couple and their twins, James and John, were stopped at a red light in Winchester on an intersection facing southward. They claim that the children were in the back seat of their minivan buckled up for safety. Suddenly, the Hill's minivan was struck from behind by a tan 2008 Kia, that was driven by 83-year-old Mary Parks.
Court documents state that when hit, the minivan spun around completely at least one time before hitting another vehicle. Investigators note that the minivan was hit so hard that the rear end of the vehicle was collapsed into the front seat. Spectators claim that they saw Parks speeding a few moments before she hit the family's vehicle. When police arrived at the scene they noted that the speedometer in Parks' Kia had frozen at a speed of 90 miles per hour due to the impact.
As a result of the accident, James was declared dead at the scene. John was airlifted to Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he later passed away. Aaron hill was discovered in critical condition and had to be hauled off to the hospital, while police had to pry open the door of the minivan to safely retrieve her from the totaled car. Parks' leg was severely damaged when authorities arrived at the scene, she was also rushed to the hospital. She passed away later on that day. Court documents claim that she had a record of driving carefully and never sped. Before she died she spoke of having multiple issues with her car.
The family's lawsuit completely blames Kia, claiming that it's 2008 Optima model was defective and that the manufacturer was aware of this fact. The car was supposed to have a functioning fault detection system that had the ability to “anticipate foreseeable unwanted outcomes, including unintended acceleration.” The lawsuit also states that since the car runs on a purely electronic throttle control system, the chances of the car malfunctioning due to short circuits, software issues, and defective circuit boards were increased. But their main argument is that this particular car model does not have a brake override system. This means that the driver cannot stop or slow down the engine when drivers step on the brakes and the car faultily accelerates. These issues have plagued Kia for years now. Parks' car was listed in a recall about 8 years ago.
Kia recently released a statement in response to this lawsuit, saying that they “deny that the subject vehicle suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated out of control” and that “when the subject vehicle was designed, manufactured and sold, it conformed with the state of scientific and technological knowledge available to its manufacturer.”