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Not all car accidents are the fault of a negligent driver. Sometimes the vehicle itself is behind a horrific accident.

As of April 1, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched investigations into problems with two major auto brands, Hyundai and Kia. The action comes as a response to a request from a consumer protection advocacy group. There have been calls for recalls of several models produced by those manufacturers over the last few years because of engine fires and injuries.

Both auto manufacturers are based in South Korea. The cars focused in the investigation include:

  • Kia’s Soul, years 2010-2015
  • Kia’s Optima, years 2011-2014
  • Kia’s Sorento, years 2011-2014
  • Hyundai’s Sonata 2011-2014
  • Hyundai’s Santa Fe 2011-2014

NHTSA and the auto manufacturers themselves report that there have been 3,125 fires in cars that were not related to any collision. More than 100 people have been injured and one person was killed. Congress has also been asked to look into the issue.

There are suggestions that the problem may have to do with the “Theta II” engines used in some Hyundai and Kia models. While both companies have issued recalls on some of the vehicles, the recalls have been sporadic. In February, 500,000 cars were recalled, including hundreds of thousands of Kia Souls — but not all vehicles listed in the inquiry have been recalled at this time.

The NHTSA says that the investigation is actually going to look into more than just the engine fires. It’s also expected to cover other components in the vehicles as well, as deemed necessary.

Auto accidents can have many different causes — and the reasons behind an accident aren’t always clear at first blush. It takes experience to know who should be held accountable when someone is injured or killed in a car accident. If you have fallen victim, find out more about your legal options today.