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Millions of dangerous cars are under a global recall over faulty airbags that can explode – even in minor collisions. Around 70 million vehicles, and nearly 20 separate auto companies, are affected. The company behind these defective airbags is Takata, a Japanese auto supplier and one of the four largest airbag manufacturers in the world.
Due to an unstable propellant chemical, Takata-made airbags can rupture upon deployment, sending shards of metal hurtling toward drivers and passengers. The defective airbags have already been linked to 14 fatalities and over 140 injuries, sparking a wave of airbag lawsuits against Takata and multiple vehicle companies.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating the problem in 2014, after reports of airbag explosions in Florida and Puerto Rico. Once the reports had been confirmed and publicly linked to Takata, the NHTSA “received notification” that BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota would all be recalling their affected vehicles. But investigative reports suggest that officials from Takata knew about, but actively concealed, the airbag’s risks since at least 2004.
In dozens of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, victims say that Takata lied to government regulators and the public, hiding evidence that its airbags were unreasonably dangerous for decades. The case against Takata is damning. In fact, the company has been quietly settling lawsuits involving faulty airbags for years.
Nearly every major auto manufacturer has been affected by the Takata recall. Is your vehicle on the list?
You can use the NHTSA’s SaferCar.gov website to search for your vehicle’s identification number (VIN), learn whether it’s part of the recall, and instructions on going forward.
In 2014, General Motors recalled 2.6 million vehicles due to a faulty ignition switch that caused cars to unexpectedly stop, at times right on the highway. The defect also turned off the vehicles’ airbags, exacerbating the effects of any crashes it caused. The defect threatened millions of lives, but drivers were left using malfunctioning cars long after GM executives became aware of the problem.
Thousands were injured due to faulty manufacturing and corporate fraud. But in the wake of multiple severe accidents, General Motors stepped up to help the drivers and passengers who were hurt. The company established a victims’ compensation fund, worth $595 million, to cover medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Nearly 400 personal injury and wrongful death claims have been compensated through GM’s fund to date.
A similar scheme has been suggested to compensate the victims of Takata airbags, but the company has rejected the idea. In June 2016, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal called on Takata executives to set up a fund and begin compensating victims immediately. Takata, however, has no plans of doing so in the foreseeable future. In a letter reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, the company said that “a national compensation fund is not currently required.” Senator Blumenthal is “astonished and deeply disappointed.”
Were you or a loved one injured by an exploding Takata airbag? Contact the New York personal injury lawyers at Banville Law today. Our experienced product liability attorneys can review your case, offering compassionate guidance, in a free consultation. We always work on a contingency-fee-basis: if we don’t win, you don’t pay.
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