Takata Airbag Recall
One of the largest and most widespread automobile-related recalls in recent years was due to a single, deadly, defective product: the Takata airbag system. Takata is one of the world’s largest airbag manufacturers, accounting for approximately 20% of all airbags produced, which are installed in almost every major car brand. Takata’s airbags are found in some of the most common automobiles on the road, such as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Thus far, more than 14 million vehicles have been recalled by 11 automakers due to defective airbags produced by Takata.
Automakers Recall Vehicles
In April and May of 2013, several Japanese automakers, along with BMW, recalled 3.6 million cars containing Takata airbags. Most recently, in June of 2014, several additional automakers—Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mazda, Ford, and Chrysler—announced recalls of millions of additional vehicles equipped with these airbags.
The recalls were issued in light of a number of reports that the airbags are prone to explode upon deployment, sending shrapnel and chemicals throughout the vehicle’s cabin, potentially resulting in severe injuries or death) to drivers and passengers.
Takata Manufacturing Concerns
Takata’s defective airbags were developed in the late 1990s and placed in automobiles beginning in the 1998 model year. Takata designed these products to inflate by means of an explosive encased in a metal canister. The explosive is based on a chemical compound found in common fertilizers. Analysts say Takata’s inflating propellant is cheaper than competitors’ propellants, but particularly volatile.
Even worse, new reports allege that Takata has known about these deadly defects for years but covered up the results of tests that showed the airbags could explode with deadly force.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Investigation
Further, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Honda for failing to promptly report incidents involving the Takata airbags installed in its vehicles. Most recently, on November 13, 2014, Takata was subpoenaed by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to turn over documents related to its airbag defects. This court action comes on the heels of public statements made by federal legislators, who are now arranging investigations and hearings on the Takata airbag defects.
Do I Have a Takata Airbag Case?
It’s not enough to simply own a car with a Takata airbag, or even to have been in an accident in where the airbag deployed. To have a case, you or a loved one must have been injured in a car accident because of this defective airbag–and sometimes it’s difficult to tie specific injuries to the airbag.
Car accidents–especially ones at high speed–often involve a lot of flying glass and debris which cause injury. And even a properly working airbag can cause injuries like bruises and black eyes when deployed. The kinds of injuries related with this particular type of defect airbag typically are those consistent with flying pieces of metal being released by the defective airbags.
If you are unsure about whether your injuries (or those of a loved one) were sustained because of a defective airbag, you should to talk to an experienced auto liability attorney. (read our FAQ blog post about this case.)
Your Next Step if You Think You Have an Airbag Case
The dangers associated with the Takata airbag system are deadly and serious, and public outcry is mounting. Lead by partner Joseph T. Musso, Ashcraft & Gerel’s auto liability attorneys are national leaders in products liability litigation, and have the resources, experience, and skill to investigate and pursue claims against the parties responsible for injuries caused by this defect.
If you or someone you know suffered an injury as a result of a Takata airbag rupturing or exploding, please contact us online or call us at 800-829-7037 for a free and confidential consultation.