Posted in Product Liability on August 30, 2018
Airbags are life-saving inventions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, airbags saved 44,869 lives from 1987 to 2015. In 2016, airbags prevented an estimated 2,756 deaths. When used in conjunction with seatbelts, airbags can significantly reduce the risk of major injuries in auto accidents. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers take due care in designing and producing safe and effective airbags.
Negligent manufacture leads to defective equipment and serious preventable injuries. Such is the case with the current worldwide Takata airbag recall. Takata has openly admitted to manipulating information and releasing unsafe airbag inflators to save money. The consequence has been lives unnecessarily lost in car accidents that might otherwise not have been fatal. Learn more about the ongoing Takata airbag recalls and surrounding lawsuits.
Takata Corporation was a leading supplier of automotive safety parts and products, based in Japan. In June 2017, Takata announced it was filing for bankruptcy in Japan and the United States due to the enormous costs of the airbag lawsuits against it. At the time of the announcement, Takata owed a reported $15 billion in debts. The chief operating officer of Takata’s U.S. operations (TK Holdings) said that the company faced unsurmountable claims from the airbag recalls. The basis for these recalls and lawsuits was exploding airbags.
Takata’s downfall stems from a terrible act of negligence on the company’s part. Takata pleaded guilty in February 2017 to wire fraud, admitting to carrying out a scheme to defraud its customers based on false and altered information about airbag inflator tests. Takata manipulated data to make it seem as though the airbag inflators were safer than they actually were. Due to this intentional misrepresentation of facts, Takata manufactured millions of airbags with inflators that had major malfunctions – defects that made them explode during accidents.
Takata’s exploding airbags can send shrapnel, pieces of metal, and debris into the cabin of the vehicle, striking passengers with deadly force. By 2019, Takata expects to recall around 125 million vehicles globally, with 60 million in the U.S. Federal regulators in the United States have stated that Honda and Acura model years 2001-2003 have up to a 50% chance of experiencing dangerous airbag explosions in crashes. Owners of these vehicles should cease driving them until they can get repairs.
Takata’s grossly negligent actions in concealing vital safety test information led to at least 23 deaths and 300 injuries from exploding airbags as of July 2018. Fifteen of the deaths have been in the United States. Potential injuries should the airbag inflator explode in an accident include lacerations, puncture wounds, traumatic amputations, brain injuries, and eye injuries. If you or someone you love suffered injuries because of a defective and dangerous Takata airbag, contact a lawyer right away. You could be eligible for the following damages:
Hundreds of people have filed lawsuits against Takata for exploding airbags. Industry experts have predicted that the Takata airbag recall could take until 2023 to complete. This means vehicles in the U.S. and worldwide containing Takata airbags may not be safe until 2023. In the meantime, find out how the recall might affect your vehicle. If you’ve already experienced injuries because of an exploding Takata airbag, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney about a potential product liability claim.