Until the latter part of 2014, a Japanese company named Takata was unknown to most Americans. Now, after revelations that over 7 million U.S. vehicles may be equipped with potentially faulty Takata airbags, the name is becoming all too recognizable. It is estimated that over 16 million vehicles around the world may be impacted by the problem.
Injuries and Loss of
Allegedly defective Takata airbags may burst when deployed, potentially spraying pieces of metal at motorists and front-seat passengers.
Four deaths have been allegedly linked to the problem, and a number of lawsuits have been filed. In one such lawsuit filed in May 2014, a 28-year-old female alleges she was hit in the face and eye by “shards of metal” when her airbag deployed in an accident involving her 2002 Honda Civic.
In the September 1, 2013 accident in Florida’s Santa Rosa County, the plaintiff allegedly suffered a bloodied face and metal lodged in her eye. She is seeking $1 million in damages in the suit filed in Texas, where she originally bought the car. A similar event in Colorado could lead to the filing of a Colorado defective airbag lawsuit.
Federal Agency Investigates
The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating whether the inflators used with certain Takata airbags do deploy with excessive force. Regional recalls began in June 2014 in certain high-humidity areas like Florida and Puerto Rico. In October 2014, federal safety regulators urged owners of affected cars to seek replacement of the airbags as quickly as possible, regardless of where they may live in the United States. However, there are concerns that the demand for replacement airbags will far outstrip the supply for the immediate future. A potential inability of the manufacturer to cope with airbag replacements may be a factor in a future Colorado defective airbag lawsuit.
Many Manufacturers Affected
Takata is accused of selling faulty airbags to 10 or more automakers. Some of these devices found their way into vehicles dating as far back as the 2001 model year. Honda, Toyota, General Motors, and BMW vehicles are among the manufacturers involved. Most vehicles were built between the 2001 and 2007 model years, inclusive. However, even some 2011 Honda Element vehicles are involved.
Recall Notifications by Mail
Many owners of affected vehicles have been notified by mail of the recall. But, given the fact that some of the vehicles involved are a decade or more old, the existence of multiple owners in some cases may make it difficult to identify all current owners of cars, trucks and SUVs with the recalled Takata airbags. Alternatively, consumers can check to see if they own or lease an affected vehicle by visiting a special NHTSA website, safercar.gov.
A Colorado defective airbag lawsuit may be filed when an injured party can reasonably claim an airbag deployed improperly, causing undue harm. State law provides for compensatory damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. If a death is linked to a potentially defective airbag, a wrongful death suit may seek compensation for burial expenses, loss of companionship and other expenses.
If you or a family member has been injured in an accident involving airbag deployment, we at Attorney Group for Colorado can assist in answering your questions. We can also arrange for you to speak with one of our affiliated attorneys. An initial consultation is free, confidential and without obligation. Call today.