Unfortunately, tens of millions of vehicles of numerous makes and models have been recalled due to the defective manufacture of airbags by Takata Corporation. These defective airbags are highly dangerous and can be deadly when deployed. They may rupture upon impact, spraying pieces of metal and shrapnel into drivers and passengers. While it is easy to see how traumatic injuries have been sustained in heavy T-bone and rollover car or truck accidents, these airbags can be just as dangerous in low impact wrecks and fender benders.
The airbag recall has affected vehicles manufactured by Acura, BMW, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Infiniti, among others. In May 2016, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) expanded and accelerated the recall of the Takata air bag inflators when investigators confirmed the root cause behind the rupture of these airbags that has been linked to the degradation of the ammonium nitrate propellants in the inflators. To date, nearly 70 million Takata airbag inflators are or will be under recall by 2019, making this the largest auto safety recall in the history of the United States.
On October 20, 2016, the NHTSA confirmed another crash fatality linked to the rupture of the recalled Takata airbag inflator, this time involving a 2001 Honda Civic. The victim, 50 years old, died after sustaining serious injuries in a September auto accident. According to the NHTSA, certain Honda and Acura brand vehicles have been included in a higher risk category of Takata airbags, which means they are categorized as having a “substantially higher risk” of exploding after being deployed. These vehicles’ airbags include a specific manufacturing defect which greatly increases the chance for a dangerous rupture. Many people across the United States have sustained traumatic and life altering injuries, including permanent disfigurement, as a result of these airbags.
The NHTSA also advises consumers that these ruptures are more likely to occur in hot, humid areas such as Florida, Texas, the Gulf Coast, and certain areas in Southern California. The matter could be more pressing if you live in warmer climates and have an older model car, as research has indicated that the older age of the defective products, combined with hot and humid conditions, could lead to a more probable rupture of the airbag, thereby causing additional injuries or even death.
To find out if your vehicle is under an active recall, the NHTSA asks that you visit their website to review a list of all vehicles affected and to enter the recall status search to verify any potential recalls for your vehicle. You can also view the different categories that the NHTSA has placed on vehicles based on year and the zone or area of the country in which you reside.
When dangerous products enter the marketplace, it is important to take action immediately to obtain the relevant research and facts that will help protect you and your family. Further, if you suffer an injury as a result of a Takata airbag deployment or any other defective product, you may have a potential product liability claim. Knowing how to and when to ask for the legal compensation and other damages that you are entitled to under the law is a way to get fully compensated for your damaged property and other losses. If you are injured or have questions regarding your claim, please call the Tennessee product liability lawyers at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz today.