Millions of Takata airbags recalled based on dangerous defect
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against Takata Corp. and several vehicle manufacturers because of faulty airbags which can cause serious injury and even death. More than 80 proposed class actions have been recently filed by customers who claim that Takata airbags are defective and can violently explode, spraying metal debris into the driver and passengers of the vehicles. Unfortunately, it has been alleged that Takata and several automakers knew about the dangerous airbags for many years, but did nothing to warn the consumer of this danger until recently, when many of the affected vehicles were recalled.
Takata has been making vehicle airbags for over a decade and though initially the airbags were found solely in Japanese vehicles, eventually automakers from the United States and Germany began to use Takata airbags because their components were more compact than others. One of these components was a steel “inflater” which was essentially a canister containing explosives which would quickly force the airbag to inflate when initiated. Unfortunately, the canister itself was allegedly found to be defective at times and would crack, causing shards of metal to be propelled toward vehicle inhabitants during an airbag rupture.
To make matters worse, the explosives used by Takata were fertilizer-based and at times were found to be sensitive to moisture, potentially increasing the strength of the explosion, causing the metal debris to be propelled toward the driver and passengers at a higher speed. This potentially made the defective airbags more violent in states with high humidity levels like Florida and Hawaii. If the canister containing the explosives cracked and allowed moisture to infiltrate the explosives, this could potentially cause a catastrophic explosion.
To date, approximately four deaths and at least 139 injuries have been tied to the defective airbags. One can expect that others may have been injured by these defective airbags but may not have recognized the cause of the injuries at the time. Being involved in an accident is sometimes an extremely confusing and stress-inducing situation. Depending on the level of property damage to the vehicle, it may be difficult for the average person to determine whether a particular type of debris came from shattering glass, plastic dashboard components or a dangerously explosive airbag. An expert in the field of automotive safely would best be able to determine the cause.
Being injured by a device that has a sole purpose of saving lives is like adding insult to injury. Fortunately, injury lawyers are working hard to fight for the rights of the public. Eventually, the complete truth will be exposed and we will know the full extent of the negligent acts committed by Takata and the related auto manufacturers. Our job will be to make sure that all responsible parties are forced to compensate those who have been injured as the result of these negligent acts.