My 2009 Hyundai Accent bit my finger and Hyundai won't investigate

My finger had the unfortunate experience of finding a razor sharp edge in my 2009 Hyundai Accent. The top couple millimeters of my finger were sliced off. I got medical treatment, but did not quite need stitches. Still, three months after the incident, full feeling has not returned to my finger. I reported this to Hyundai and I tried to work within their awful system to get them to investigate it. They sent me a nasty letter demanding reams of paper documenting many things, most of them completely irrelevant to the incident. When I provided them all of that documentation, they tried to send me settlement paperwork, in return for which they would send me a $200 check - but which came with a non-disclosure agreement so I couldn’t tell anyone about it. This non-disclosure agreement would also prevent me from providing the government with information if the NHTSA followed up on the report I filed. But they never inspected the car to see what happened so they could prevent it happening again.

While I realize that this is not the most dangerous aspect of any vehicle, I think this really demonstrates Hyundai’s priorities. And since they tried to offer me $200 in hush money, I want to tell my story.

On June 24 at approximately 9:50 AM, I was folding the back seats of my car back up. Since there is no handle on the back of the seat and I cannot reach to the top of the seat from the back of the car when they are folded down unless I am kneeling inside the trunk, I grabbed the hole the latch fits into, since this is the only part of the seat I could grab onto. While I had done this before with no problem, this time my index finger slid across a razor sharp piece of metal in this hole, slicing the top couple millimeters of my finger were sliced off. I went to the doctor and the doctor gave me sutures. The sutures came off in about a month, when I was finally able to use my finger again. Three months later, full feeling has not returned and it looks like there will be a scar.

I contacted Hyundai first on July 24 and we traded several emails. They demanded several records from me and said that if I did not provide them they would not investigate. I send them a 9 page letter with these records on July 4. It included some of my medical records, the invoice for my car, the registration for my car, the title of my car, and some lovely pictures showing my injured finger.

They replied with the insulting offer of $200 hush money referenced above, refusing to even consider investigating unless I signed the non-disclosure agreement. I eventually filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, complaint #20042154, on 9/13/13 which can be seen here
The complaint appears to be closed but I never got a response.

The obvoius question would be why you didn’t push the seats to from inside the car’s cabin, rather than stick your fingers inside the latching mechanism (if I read that correctly) to pull it.

The lack of a pulling handhold is evidence Hyundai never intended for the seat to be pulled to. Why? Maybe they saved a couple $ per car…or maybe they were worried a pull handle would increase the risk of a child inadvertently locking himself inside the trunk.

Hyundai has a responsibility to keep occupants from being cut on surfaces routinely encountered through normal operations. Sticking one’s fingers, blind, inside a latching mechanism, does not, IMO, constitute “normal operations,” especially seeing as the seat is not designed to be pullable.

(As a mechanic, I would take the same stance if somebody got loose hair or clothing entangled in a moving accessory belt.)

Yes’ it seems a bit strange that ;
you invent your own way to operate the seat, different from any of their instructions, hurt yourself, and suddenly it’s their fault ?

“I eventually filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau…The complaint appears to be closed but I never got a response.”

Hopefully, the OP has learned three realities from this process:

The BBB is essentially useless. No, this is not just my opinion. Several years ago, Smart Money magazine did an in-depth report on The BBB, and they summed up their long article by stating, “Few consumers are actually helped by the BBB”.

It is not possible to completely idiot-proof a product if a customer is bound & determined to use it in a non-standard manner. No, I am not calling you an idiot. That is standard lingo in the industry, so please don’t blame me for the lingo.

You shouldn’t have refused the $200 settlement.

Try to put this incident behind you, and–for the sake of your fingers and possibly other parts of your anatomy–resolve that you will follow the instructions in the Owner’s Manual in the future, rather than inventing your own procedures.

Well, I don’t normally resort to this but I’m going to send tact and class packing and say the OP is lacking any semblance of common sense. To a lesser extent the actual inadvertent accident but mostly for the conspiracy theory, hush money comment, accusations of Hyundai sending a “nasty” letter, etc along with the paragraph below.

The OP states in their complaint here that this accident was caused by sticking their finger in a blind latch hole.
In the BBB complaint the OP conveniently omits that part of it and says they cut their finger on the sharp edge of a seat; which gives the impression the seat itself is flawed. There’s no mention of sticking a finger into a hole and that omission is not likely to be an accident at all.

It would not surprise me if any dealings with Hyundai also had this glaring omission. Maybe a cut and paste sent to Hyundai would assure they have the entire story…

A car manufacturer has a reasonable responsibility to not produce a product that is likely to harm someone, especially when a simple modification to the design or construction would prevent it. Even if the owner’s manual recommends it be used in a particular manner. Ski resorts always have disclaimers that say “skiing is inherently dangerous, skier accepts all responsibility”. But if the ski resort digs a big hole in the ski run, fails to mark it, and a skier falls into it, the ski resort could still be responsible for any injuries. Still, no product is 100% safe, and the manufacturer has a right to expect the owner will act responsibly, not be a uncoordinated klutz (not saying the OP is, just as an example), use common sense etc. So it’s hard to say who’s right and who’s wrong on this one. One question: Did the owner’s manual specially warn the owner not to do what you did?

I can think of 100 dangerous things I could do with a car, none of which deserve a warning in the owners manual.

"sign, sign, everywhere a sign, "
You can never post enough warnings to protect…uh-hem BABYSIT, all the ‘‘hey duh’’ actions of everyone.
too many signs/warnings and people stop reading.
too few and the start whining.

catch 22

You need to find a good trial lawyer, I have a lawsuit going right now against burger king because they served me over salted fries and my blood pressure has never been normal since, Plus I was really thirsty for a while after eating the improperly salted fries. I hope to recover 100k plus. BK offered me a free whopper but my lawyer told them to shove it…anyway

1.You stuck your finger where it doesn’t belong, and learned a good but painful lesson. In my line of work if you stick your fingers in the wrong spot you can die so consider yourself lucky and move on.

  1. Who kneels in the trunk to fold the rear seat back up anyway? My back hurts just thinking about that!

Im not trying to be overly harsh, its just how I say things… I mean honestly, you invented a new way to fold the seat back up and you got hurt. You can slam you finger in the car door and get hurt, you can hurt your finger so many ways on a car its not funny, just be more careful.

BTW, This is the reason Blitz gas can company had to file bankruptcy, too many lawsuits, one was by a guy who’s 2 year old daughter got killed when he brought a gas can in his trailer and was splashing gasoline into a wood stove which had a small fire he couldn’t get going. Gas can blew up. I mean who does these things, esp. with a 2 year old nearby. He sued and got awarded alot of cash, now I feel horrible for that poor little girl that died, but the guy actually should be in jail for child neglect, not getting a huge settlement.


You hit the nail on the head, if they would have put handles on the seat back and a kid locked themselves in the trunk god forbid, they would have had a lawsuit due to having handles, no handles and someone cuts their finger when they stick it in the latch. Can’t win…

That Blitz gas can company was located in Miami, OK and you’re exactly right; they were sued out of existence and a lot of people were unhappy after losing their jobs.
They settled a couple of suits for millions of dollars and still had 42 pending.

Several dozen of those lawsuits were filed by the same law firm.

Along those lines, about 10 years ago a farmer near the air force base here lost his barn, bobtail truck, pickup, several ATVs, and a '67 Corvette Roadster with a 427 after 2 punks tried to steal gas from the vehicle while he was gone.
Wondering if they had gotten all of the gasoline they decided the best way to check in a dark barn was to look inside the saddle tank of the bobtail with a cigarette lighter. The resulting loss from the blaze was estimated at 200 grand with a classic Corvette ruined.

The 2 punks were caught not long after when a friend read the newspaper story about the fire, became suspicious of the burned forearms, and turned them in. Both had priors, go figure.

So, those guys chose to stick their fingers into a hole where they shouldn’t have either…

If it’s any consolation you should get most of the feeling back in your finger. I managed to slice off the tip of my thumb about 20 years ago. Except for some numbness and temp sensitivity the thumb is fully functional.

Ed B.