Over the past two years, Takata has remained at the center of the largest automobile vehicle recall ever recorded in the United States. This is because the airbags that the manufacturer produces, which are standard in over 45 different models of cars made between 2000 and 2008, were found to be defective and potentially dangerous to drivers.
Initial reports regarding the defective airbags surfaced in 2015, when product recalls were issued for more than 7 million cars across the country. At the time of the first recall, more than 140 injuries and 4 deaths related to the airbags had been reported. As of this year, more than 10 deaths and 184 injuries have been linked to the device.
What is the issue with Takata airbags?
Airbags are intended to decrease the severity of the impact that a collision has on a vehicle’s driver or passengers. However, reports suggest that upon impact, Takata airbags may explode, causing metal shrapnel and debris from the vehicle to project throughout the passenger cabin. Such instances have led to injuries and the deaths of individuals in the vehicle at the time of the collision.
While the manufacturer has suggested that such explosions could be attributed to environmental conditions, research indicates that the improper storage of the explosive propellant in the airbag may have led to the excessive moisture that caused the explosions.
How many vehicles are affected by the recall?
It has been estimated that more than 40 million cars have already been recalled because of the defective airbags. Of those cars, officials estimated that only a quarter have been outfitted with replacement parts. Further, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has projected that more than 80 million airbags are defective, only a fraction of which have been repaired or replaced.
Lawsuits for Takata Airbag Injuries
Numerous individual lawsuits were filed against Takata claiming that the manufacturer knew of the defect for over 10 years and continued to manufacture the faulty parts. Victims’ attorneys have also filed suit against automobile manufacturers Honda, Ford, BMW, and Toyota, because of their roles in the sale of the defective airbags.
Takata has agreed to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing after a United States Justice Department investigation determined that the company may have taken action to hide the defects from regulators, distributors and consumers. Takata may then be liable for more than $20 million in criminal fines, $120 million in compensation to victims and $850 million in compensation for losses suffered by automobile manufacturers during the extensive recalls.
If you or a loved one has faced injuries after enduring a car accident in which your airbag exploded, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your suffering. Contact the product liability attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos for additional information pertaining to the Takata airbag recall, or to schedule a free consultation.