Known as the largest and most complex safety recall in United States history, the recall of millions of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata-made airbags has gained worldwide attention for serious injuries and fatalities caused by metal shrapnel exploding into the passenger compartment when the airbag is deployed in a crash. As the problem with Takata-made airbags continues to plague auto makers around the world, a growing number of car owners in the United States are taking legal action against Takata and car manufacturing companies like Honda, Mazda and Toyota. If you have been injured in a collision involving a defective airbag, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal Takata airbag accident, contact an experienced product liability attorney today for legal help. With a qualified defective auto parts lawyer on your side, you may be able to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
The multiple Takata airbag recalls affect more than 54 million vehicles made by nearly two dozen manufacturing companies and sold to consumers throughout the United States and worldwide, including Honda, Toyota, Subaru, Chrysler and General Motors vehicles. According to reports, the faulty airbags were mostly installed in vehicles from model years 2002 to 2008, but the recall has been extended through model year 2014 in some cases. The problem is with the Takata airbag inflators, which may cause the airbags to deploy explosively when the vehicle is in use, sending metal shards into the passenger compartment of the vehicle and causing serious injury or death to drivers and passengers. According to reports, the vehicles affects by the Takata airbag recall include the following:
In June 2015, Takata reported that it was aware of 88 incidents involving exploding airbags, including 67 cases where the airbag exploded in the driver’s side of the vehicle and 21 cases where the airbag exploded on the passenger’s side. According to reports, as many as 100 injuries and eight fatalities have been confirmed in connection with faulty airbag inflators manufactured by Takata and installed in dozens of different models of vehicles. Overall, more than 54 million vehicles with exploding Takata airbags have been recalled worldwide, due to defects that may cause serious injuries, including:
One example of a devastating incident involving an exploding Takata airbag took place in May 2009, when 18-year-old Ashley Parham of Oklahoma City was driving her 2001 Honda Accord across a high school parking lot in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Parham reportedly she struck another car, and when her airbag inflated, it sent shards of metal into her neck, causing her death.
January 2015 – A 21-year-old woman from South Carolina files a claim against Takata after she suffered severe injuries from an exploding airbag in her 2001 Honda Civic.
January 2015 – Takata and Honda face a lawsuit from a 76-year-old woman who became paralyzed from the neck down after the airbag in her 2001 Honda Civic exploded.
January 2015 – $6.3 million is awarded to a man who was paralyzed when the airbag in his 2005 Mercury Sable failed to deploy properly in a head-on collision.
January 2015 – A product liability lawsuit is filed by a woman who was blinded in her left eye when the airbag in her 2013 Chevy Cruze deployed explosively.
February 2015 – All defective airbag lawsuits filed in federal courts across the United States are centralized for coordinated pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, as part of a multidistrict litigation.
May 2015 – A wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the family of a pregnant woman from Malaysia who was killed by metal shrapnel that struck her when her airbag deployed explosively.
June 2015 – The mother of a 22-year-old girl who died from an exploding airbag files a lawsuit against the maker of the defective airbag.
June 2015 – A lawsuit is filed in California on behalf of a woman who was killed when the airbag in her rental car exploded and metal shrapnel lacerated her neck.
November 2015 – Takata faces a lawsuit filed by a woman from Utah who is unable to speak because shrapnel from an exploding airbag lacerated her neck.
November 2014 – The New York Times publishes a report indicating that Takata knew about the problems with its airbags for years before alerting federal regulators.
January 2015 – Honda and Takata announce that they are investigating a sixth fatality linked to exploding airbags.
February 2015 – Approximately 2.1 million vehicles are recalled by Honda, Chrysler and Toyota, following about 400 reports of the vehicles’ airbags inflating without a collision.
February 2015 – Takata is fined $14,000 per day for failing to cooperate fully with the NHTSA’s investigation into the airbag problems.
April 2015 – A serious injury in Florida involving a 2003 Honda Civic is tied to exploding Takata airbags.
April 2015 – Another 45,000 vehicles are recalled after a woman in Louisiana suffers severe injuries from an exploding airbag in her 2006 Nissan Sentra.
May 2015 – The recall of Takata airbags is nearly doubled when 11 million more vehicles are added to the list, for a total of 34 million vehicles recalled for exploding airbags. This officially makes it the largest auto recall in the history of the United States.
May 2015 – Takata acknowledges that airbag inflators it manufactured for certain vehicles were faulty.
June 2015 – Hundreds of thousands more vehicles are added to the exploding airbag recall, with a total of 54 million recalled worldwide.
June 2015 – Car owners who replaced their defective Takata-made airbags are notified that they may require a second airbag replacement.
July 2015 – ARC Automotive Inc. an American supplier of airbag inflators, is under investigation after two people are injured from exploding airbags in older-model Chrysler and Kia vehicles.
October 2015 – Honda recalls approximately 300,000 Accord sedans model year 2008 to 2009, after at least 19 people were injured by side airbags that deployed when the car door was slammed shut or when the car went over a bump.
November 2015 – The NHTSA levies a fine of as much as $200 million against Takata, for failing to follow federal safety regulations in the manufacture and recall of its airbags.
November 2015 – Nissan, Toyota, Honda and Mazda announce that they will no longer purchase or use airbag inflators from Takata.
As Takata faces growing criticism regarding the company’s defective and unreasonably dangerous airbags, the auto parts manufacturer has admitted that it knew about the faulty airbag inflators, but failed to provide consumers and federal regulators with warnings about the risk of injury or death from the devices. In a recent press release issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “For years, Takata has built and sold defective products, refused to acknowledge the defect, and failed to provide full information to NHTSA, its customers or the public. The result of that delay and denial has harmed scores of consumers and caused the largest, most complex safety recall in history.” Consumers who suffered serious injuries or lost loved ones in accidents involving exploding Takata-made airbags are pursuing legal claims against the auto parts manufacturing, alleging that the company:
According to government safety officials, the inflator mechanisms in the defective airbags may rupture upon deployment, causing metal fragments to fly into passengers’ chests and faces during a car accident, causing serious injuries or death. Unfortunately, many car owners with vehicles that have defective airbags are finding out that it may take weeks or months for their replacement airbags to arrive, which means they may be at a constant risk of injury or death from the defective airbags in the meantime. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident involving a faulty Takata airbag, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help. We are committed to protecting the rights of consumers harmed by defective products, and we can help put you in touch with an attorney who has experience handling faulty Takata airbag claims.