Defective airbag lawsuit attorneys have been watching developments related to the ongoing Takata airbag recall, which was prompted by reports that inflators inside driver and passenger side airbags could over-pressurize and cause debris to be ejected at high velocity when the airbag deploys. Some have described the debris as “shrapnel,” and numerous injuries and fatalities have been attributed to the problem, including that of a woman who allegedly bled to death in front of her children after the arteries in her throat were severed following the deployment of her airbag.
Initial Response Led to Fines for Failure to Cooperate
Takata’s initial response to the problem was to initiate a regional recall, limited to warm weather states on the premise that high humidity was causing the over-pressurization issues. Alleged failure to cooperate with federal investigators with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) resulted fines of $14,000 per day being levied against the manufacturer. According to reports by the agency, Takata was not “completely forthcoming in its answers to investigators.”
Defects Admitted – Recall Widened to Become the Largest in U.S. Automotive History
Multiple news outlets are now reporting that Takata has expanded its recall to nearly 34 million vehicles, making the Takata airbag recall the largest in U.S. automotive history. According to a May 19, 2015 report in the New York Times:
For more than a decade, the Japanese company Takata, one of the largest suppliers of airbags, denied that its products were defective even as motorists were killed by exploding airbags and automakers around the world recalled millions of cars equipped with its products.
But on Tuesday, in an about-face, Takata admitted that its airbags were defective and agreed to double the number of vehicles recalled in the United States, to nearly 34 million — or about one in seven of the more than 250 million vehicles on American roads — making it the largest automotive recall in American history. The airbags can explode violently when they deploy, sending shrapnel flying into a car’s passenger compartment. Six deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the flaw.
What Vehicles Are Affected?
According to the NHTSA, manufacturers whose vehicle use the recalled Takata airbags include:
- Daimler Trucks
- General Motors
On its Takata Recall Spotlight page, the agency reports that it is waiting to manufacturers to supply a complete list of affected vehicles. It further advises owners to
[U]se NHTSA’s VIN search tool to confirm whether your individual vehicle is under recall, and search by VIN on a specific vehicle-maker’s site. It’s important to check periodically because it’s possible your VIN might not be entered into a manufacturer’s system for several weeks after a recall is first announced. If your vehicle is affected, follow-up with the manufacturer to get interim guidance and get your vehicle fixed as soon as parts are available.
Takata Airbag Recall Lawsuits Expected to Increase
Individual lawsuits have been filed against Takata related to specific injuries and deaths caused by recalled Takata airbags. Takata class action lawsuits have also been filed on behalf of vehicle owners for costs related to replacing airbags and loss of market value of affected cars. Takata’s admission of defects with its airbags is expected to strengthen existing claims and give rise to others. Costs associated with the recall are expected to be between $4 billion and $5 billion.
People who have been injured by a Takata airbag may be able to pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Family members of those killed by an airbag may have claims for damages resulting from the wrongful death of their loved one.
Those injured and the families of those killed are encouraged to seek legal counsel in order to determine what rights they may have to compensation for their losses.
Contact Us for More Information
If you have questions about the Takata airbag recall, or if you have been injured or had a loved one killed by an exploding airbag, contact Attorney Group today for more information by filling out the form on this page, calling us at the number listed above, or emailing us at [email protected].
An attorney will follow up with you to answer your questions. Your consultation is free, confidential and without any obligation on your part. If you choose to pursue a claim, we can connect you with an affiliated Takata recall lawsuit attorney who can assist you through the legal process. State laws limit the time you have to seek compensation for an injury, so contact us today.