A jury in Montana, U.S. has ordered Hyundai Motor to pay a staggering $248 million in punitive damages over a manufacturing defect in a Hyundai vehicle that caused a deadly car accident three years ago.
The jury also ordered that $8.6 million of this be paid to the families of the two teenagers that died in the July 2011 crash. The verdict said a defective steering knuckle in the Tiburon caused it to suddenly veer into an oncoming lane, where it crashed head on with another automobile.
The maximum cap for such defects stands at $10 million, but a judge in the state ruled that the amount is not high enough to deter future wrongdoings by wealthy multinationals.
In 2005, Hyundai recalled 111 Tiburons manufactured over a one-month period that year due to steering issues, but it is unclear if the model involved in the 2011 crash was made during that period.
Hyundai has called the ruling outrageous and said it will appeal. It argued that a firecracker set off inside the vehicle might have caused the crash.
Eyewitnesses said they saw a firework explode in the car prior to the accident, but police have yet to find any evidence supporting a link to the crash.