The theft of Kia and Hyundai vehicles is on the rise and shows no sign of stopping. Word has gotten out about how easy they are to steal, causing juvenile delinquents and career criminals alike to take note.
Insurance companies are refusing to cover these vehicles as a result. And many police departments have started rolling out steering wheel lock giveaways to help slow the theft rate in their communities. Kia and Hyundai, on the other hand, have been all but silent on the issue, leaving car owners no choice but to resolve the issue through a class action lawsuit.
Want to know how to join that lawsuit? Use this guide to learn all you need to know about how to sue Kia and Hyundai for damages.
Security Vulnerability in Hyundai and Kia Vehicles
Hyundai and Kia are well known for creating quality vehicles at truly affordable prices. To do that, they generally have to cut corners here and there without decreasing the safety and reliability of their cars.
In their 2011 to 2021 vehicles, they elected to forgo the engine immobilizer system, which matches the key to the car’s ECU before allowing the motor to start up. On top of that, they use a physical key slot with a USB interface, allowing thieves to pull the steering column apart and start the car with any USB cable.
As soon as word got out about that vulnerability, it was all over. Thieves started targeting 2011 to 2021 Kia and Hyundai vehicles, in particular, when looking for a car to steal. They’re used for joyrides and to commit serious crimes, resulting in damage to the vehicles and serious problems for car owners.
A Class Action Lawsuit is in Action
Since neither carmaker has made steps to resolve the security glitch, vehicle owners have been left without any reasonable solutions. In response, one car owner filed a class action suit against the car manufacturers, alleging that their vehicles are unsafe, easy to steal, and worth far less than what people paid for them.
The class action lawsuit will cover anyone who bought the affected vehicles in the past five years. Vehicle owners who have had a 2011 to 2021 Hyundai or Kia for longer than that are also eligible to join. Damages sought include the price of the defective vehicles, additional theft prevention devices, and insurance cost increases.
Having your vehicle stolen doesn’t just come with financial challenges. It can greatly impact your mental health and overall well-being. Even the fear of having your car stolen can prove detrimental. For that reason, damages may also cover losses that occurred due to the stigma associated with owning these vehicles.
How You Can Sue Kia and Hyundai
Since the class action lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai is already in action, there’s nothing you need to do at this time. You have to wait for the case to move through the courts through to the end of the settlement phase. Once that happens, other affected parties, or class members, will have a chance to sign up.
You will likely receive an email or letter to your physical address after the case gets settled in court. If you don’t receive anything, you can check online for a website for the class action lawsuit. On that site, you’ll usually find an online signup form.
Whether you get an email, a letter in the mail, or find the website, you will need to complete the paperwork as requested. Fill out all sections in full to help the courts confirm that you’re eligible to join the lawsuit.
You will likely need to provide proof that you own a 2011 to 2021 Hyundai and Kia vehicle. If your car was previously stolen, you could bolster your case by providing police reports, insurance claim info, and other information about your losses.
Ready to File a Lawsuit Against Hyundai or Kia?
If you’d like to sue Kia or Hyundai, just watch for news about the class action lawsuit. As soon as the case is settled, you can join the lawsuit and make your claims. You will then need to wait for the court to sort through all the paperwork and let you know if you’re able to recoup your damages from the responsible party.
Write a Demand Letter
A demand letter is a formal letter asking for payment. Strongly worded demand letters on professional letterhead have a better chance of reaching a settlement out of court than regular letters. At Dispute, you can generate a demand letter in minutes.
- On the top, in the address block, put in the company name and address. You can find the registered agent at the bottom of this page.
- Next, put the subject line as 'Re: Demand for Payment'
- In one sentence, tell them how much the other party owes you which you will claim in your small claims lawsuit.
- Then, in two to three sentences describe your issue.
- Finally, state in plain language that you will go to small claims court if necessary. Don't say that you will do anything else, such as speaking poorly about them.
- On the bottom, include your name and address
How to Send a Demand Letter
After you write the demand letter, you’ll want to send it to their registered agent so that it’s guaranteed to go to the legal department. Make sure that you get a tracking number for the mail you send them. It can become important evidence in your case.
Demand letters are often mailed. But if you don’t have time to find a printer, buy an envelope, and visit a post office, we can mail it for you. Send your demand letter with just a click from the comfort of your home with Dispute.
Start your Small Claims Forms
If the dealership does not pay you after receiving the demand letter, you can file a small claim to win your money back. Although this may sound complicated, small claims is actually less complicated than regular court. There are some county guidelines you’ll have to follow, but filing with Dispute can make it easier on you.
You’ll need to find and prepare your small claims form based on where you decide to sue. Usually, people sue where the defendant lives or does business.
Then, wherever you decide to sue, look up the county's small claims system. They’ll provide details on their website about what small claims forms are necessary. You can read more about the small claims process here.
Serve your Small Claims Paperwork
One of the last steps before your trial will be to physically give the small claims paperwork to the defendant. This is called “serving” the defendant. You can’t serve the defendant yourself, but you can find someone else to do it. Many people hire professional process servers. There are legal guidelines that you must follow so that your case can go to court.
Defendants may sometimes avoid service. In order to keep your court date, you should hire a professional process server so that you can be sure all legal guidelines are appropriately followed.
Attend your Small Claims Trial
On the date of your small claims trial, be sure to arrive early and well prepared. Bring at least three copies of all evidence you intend to present, and if your hearing is remote be sure to have provided copies in advance to the other party and to the court. Failure to follow the strict local guidelines can result in your case being dismissed, but if you’ve followed the rules then you can often win by default when the other party doesn’t show up.
How Much it Costs
So how much will you spend by suing in small claims court?
- Court Filing Fees: The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit depends on how much you are suing for and where you are suing. You can expect to pay between $30 to $400 to file the lawsuit. If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you can ask the court to waive the fees.
- Serving Costs: Once the lawsuit is filed, you must notify the defendant that you have sued them. This is called "serving." Serving Costs can range from $20-100 depending upon the local area.
Remember, if you win, you can request that the other party pay for your court fees and serving costs.
The Benefits of Small Claims Court
- Court filing fees are cheaper in small claims than in other courts.
- The process is faster in small claims than in other courts, as your hearing will usually be scheduled 30-70 days after you file the lawsuit.
- Lawyers are generally not allowed in small claims, which helps keep the costs of suing low.
Taking the First Step in Your Lawsuit
If all of this work seems complicated or daunting, rest assured that it's easier than it initially seems. 2.7 million small claims court cases are filed annually in the US, which is only growing as more people realize how easy it is to enforce their legal rights in court.
Suing can be a complex and challenging process. It's essential to gather evidence and understand the legal process. If you believe that you have been the victim of this crime, don't hesitate to seek legal advice. By taking action, you can hold the company accountable for its actions and receive the compensation you deserve.