Hyundai told to pay $14m in airbag verdict

Grill on front of Hyundai car
Image caption Hyundai has defended itself and says that it plans to appeal against the verdict

A US jury has said Hyundai Motor must pay $14m (£9m) in damages to the family of a man who suffered traumatic brain injury after side airbags in a Hyundai car he was driving failed to deploy.

Zachary Duncan's attorneys said the airbags did not deploy because Hyundai put the sensors in the wrong location.

The crash happened in 2010 and Mr Duncan was driving a Hyundai Tiburon.

South Korea's Hyundai has said that it disagrees with the verdict and it plans to appeal against the decision.

"This is an important victory for our client and for public safety," Mr Duncan's lawyer, Ari Casper, was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

"Hopefully, this will cause automobile manufacturers to really make sure they're putting safe vehicles on the road."

However, Hyundai said that the airbag system met federal safety standards, and that it had been thoroughly tested and found to be safe.

Industry watchers said the incident appeared to be isolated and therefore was not likely to damage Hyundai's reputation.

"America is famously litigious," noted Derryn Wong, editor-in-chief at Top Gear magazine in Singapore. "(Hyundai) really do make rather safe cars."

However, Mr Wong said there was a possibility the company would issue a recall. "They might take steps to assuage the public," he said.

The US is the second largest market globally for Hyundai after China.

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