Takata Air Bags Lawsuits
A massive safety recall has been issued for tens of millions of vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbags that can violently explode and shoot lethal shrapnel at drivers and passengers. More than 100 million Takata airbag inflators have been recalled worldwide, with over 67 million in the United States alone. This sweeping recall effort is due to inherent design flaws in Takata inflators that allow moisture seepage over time, leading to chemical changes that can make the airbags rupture or aggressively deploy upon activation.
These dangerous defects have already been linked to over 30 deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide from faulty Takata airbags sending metal fragments flying at high speed into occupants. Vehicle owners need to check whether their cars contain recalled Takata airbag parts that essentially turn what is supposed to be a safety device into an explosive that could cause severe injury or death in a crash. This can be done by entering the vehicle VIN number at the NHTSA’s website.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in an auto accident that was caused by an exploding Takata Airbag, you may be entitled to compensation – regardless of liability for the crash or the number of parties that may be involved. Call Hodges Trial Lawyers today at 256-826-4129 or message us online for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Background on Takata Airbag Issues
The issues with Takata airbags stem from fundamental design flaws that allow moisture to seep into the inflator over time. This moisture exposure leads to the breakdown of the airbag propellant, ammonium nitrate, especially when subjected to wide temperature fluctuations. This chemical instability causes the inflators to either rupture violently or blast the airbags out with excessive force upon deployment.
Takata was aware of the design problems as early as 2004 from the results of their own internal testing. However, the company delayed making the defect issues public and initiating recalls until 2015, over a decade later.
Takata finally acknowledged the massive safety risk and issued nationwide recalls in 2015, leading to major fines and settlements. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fined Takata $200 million for the disclosure delay. Additionally, Takata pled guilty to criminal wrongdoing in early 2017 and agreed to a $1 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department.
Of that historic settlement, $850 million went to compensating automakers, $125 million to victims, and $25 million as a fine. The financial burden of the lawsuits and payouts ultimately led Takata to declare bankruptcy and be acquired by Key Safety Systems for $1.6 billion. Despite the fines and legal actions, the delayed notification allowed the distribution of dangerous airbags for over 10 years.
Scope of the Takata Airbag Recall
Over 67 million Takata airbag inflators have been recalled in the United States. Worldwide, the recall encompasses over 100 million inflators.
Major automakers impacted include:
- Honda: Accord, Civic, CR-V, Odyssey, Pilot
- Toyota: Corolla, Matrix, Rav4, Tundra
- Nissan: Altima, Leaf, Maxima, Sentra
- Subaru: Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback
- BMW: 3 Series, 5 Series, X3, X5
- Mazda: Mazda3, Mazda6, CX-5
- Mitsubishi: Lancer, Outlander
- Ford: Mustang, Ranger
- General Motors: Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra
- Chrysler: Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300
- Mercedes-Benz: C-Class, E-Class, SLS AMG
- Tesla: Model S
- Volkswagen/Audi: Golf, Jetta, Passat, Audi A4
- Jaguar/Land Rover: Jaguar XF, Land Rover Discovery
- Ferrari: 458 Italia, 458 Spider
- McLaren: 570GT, 720S
The extensive recall covers a wide range of makes and models equipped with hazardous Takata airbag components. Drivers should check their specific vehicle with the NHTSA using their VIN number.
The Dangers of Faulty Takata Airbags
As mentioned earlier, over 30 deaths and more than 400 injuries worldwide have been attributed to rupturing or overly forceful deployment of defective Takata airbags. The airbag explosions can send lethal metal fragments flying at passengers at very high speeds, posing a severe risk of injuries such as:
- Deep cuts, lacerations, and puncture wounds from shrapnel.
- Blindness or eye damage if hit by debris.
- Hearing loss or impairment due to loud blasts.
- Broken bones or fractures if struck by inflator components.
- Bruising and contusions from forceful airbag impact.
- Burns from hot gases released by the explosion.
- Brain trauma from slamming back into the seat.
- Spinal cord injuries from violent deployment.
- Vocal cord or larynx damage due to hot gases.
- Disfigurement and permanent scarring.
In the most serious cases, passengers can suffer paralysis, strokes, or even death from the defective airbags transforming into shrapnel-shooting explosives upon deployment.
Legal Options for Takata Airbag Injury Victims
Class action lawsuits have been filed against Takata and various automakers over the dangerous airbags. These lawsuits seek compensation for those who purchased cars containing hazardous products. It is also possible for families who have lost a loved one due to exploding Takata airbags to file wrongful death suits.
Types of compensation available through lawsuits may include:
- Payment of medical expenses, both immediate and ongoing.
- Reimbursement for lost income and impact on future earnings.
- Financial damages for pain and suffering.
- Compensation for permanent disabilities or disfigurement.
- Costs of rehabilitation treatments and long-term care.
An experienced personal injury attorney can provide a free case evaluation to determine legal options. They can analyze the extent of damages and build a claim for maximum compensation under applicable laws. Take the first step today by calling Hodges Trial Lawyers at 256-826-4129 to set up your free, no-obligation consultation and case assessment.