Is There Anything Wrong with the Takata Airbag?
Yes, there have been major concerns and recalls related to Takata airbags. The problem with the chemical mix used in their inflators can cause them to deploy explosively, spraying metal shrapnel into the vehicle’s cabin. This defect has led to numerous injuries and even deaths, making it one of the largest and most complex recalls in U.S. automotive history.
This defect has been linked to at least 26 deaths and more than 400 injuries worldwide, making it one of the deadliest and most widespread automotive defects in history.
The recall began in 2013 and has since expanded to cover about 67 million airbags from more than 42 million vehicles in the U.S. alone. The recall has been conducted in phases, prioritizing the models and regions with the highest risk of inflator rupture.
Some of the vehicles that are considered to be at an extreme risk are certain 2001 to 2003 Honda and Acura models, the 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series pickup trucks, the 1999 BMW 323i and 328i, and the 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck. These vehicles have been issued a “Do Not Drive” warning by the authorities and should be repaired immediately.
The recall is still ongoing, as not all of the affected vehicles have been fixed yet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges vehicle owners to check their recall status using their vehicle identification number (VIN) and contact their local dealer for a free repair.
What Makes an Airbag Defective?
An airbag can be considered defective if it fails to deploy when it should, deploys when it shouldn’t, or deploys with too much force. Defects can also arise from problems in the airbag’s design, manufacturing process, or due to a problem with the chemical mix, as seen with the Takata airbags. If a company is found to have been aware of a defect and did not address it, it could be held liable under the product liability legal theory.
The theory of product liability is rooted in both negligence and strict liability. If a company was aware (or should have been aware) of a defect and did not take steps to rectify the situation, recall the product, or warn consumers, they can be found negligent. Their awareness and inaction demonstrate a breach of the duty of care they owe to the consumer.
Even if a company was not aware of the defect, it could still be held responsible under the doctrine of strict liability. This means that, in certain situations, a company can be held liable for defective products regardless of their intent or level of care. The rationale behind strict liability is that companies are in a better position than consumers to bear the costs associated with product-caused injuries, and it incentivizes companies to ensure the safety of their products.
In essence, product liability law is designed to protect consumers by holding companies accountable for releasing unsafe products into the market. If a victim can demonstrate that a product defect directly caused their injury, the company involved in producing or selling that product could be held financially responsible for the victim’s damages.
Can I Sue Honda for Manufacturing a Car with a Defective Takata Airbag?
Yes, under the product liability legal theory, car manufacturers like Honda can be held responsible for injuries resulting from defective products they sold, including vehicles with faulty Takata airbags. Victims of these airbags can potentially sue for damages relating to their injuries.
Some affected individuals have joined together to form a class action defective product lawsuit to address their grievances collectively.
How Can I File a Takata Airbag Lawsuit?
Here’s what you need to do to file a Takata airbag lawsuit.
Comprehensive documentation serves as the foundation of your claim. It provides tangible evidence that can link the defective airbag to the injuries sustained.
Take clear photos of the deployed airbag, the injuries you sustained, and any other damage to your vehicle. Additionally, keep a written account of the incident, including the date, time, and circumstances surrounding the airbag’s deployment. If there were witnesses, collect their contact information and written statements.
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
Medical records are crucial for proving the extent and cause of your injuries. A medical professional can validate that your injuries were a direct result of the airbag’s deployment.
Visit a doctor or an emergency room immediately after the incident. Describe the situation in detail so they can link the injuries to the airbag. Obtain copies of all medical reports, prescriptions, and treatment recommendations.
Consult a Lawyer
Product liability cases, especially those involving large corporations, can be complex. A lawyer can guide you through the process, ensuring you understand your rights and options.
Research and contact personal injury lawyers who have experience in product liability cases. During the consultation, provide all the documentation and details of your situation. They will help determine the strength of your case and recommend the best course of action.
Join a Class Action
There are several class action lawsuits that have been filed or settled against Takata and various automakers for the defective airbags that can explode and cause injuries or deaths.
One of the largest and most recent settlements is the proposed economic loss class action settlement with BMW, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen/Audi in a lawsuit called In Re: Takata Airbag Products Liability Litigation.
This settlement covers millions of vehicles in the U.S. that were equipped with Takata airbags and allegedly suffered economic losses as a result of the defect. The settlement provides various benefits to eligible class members, such as reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses, rental car costs, residual payments, and customer support programs.
If you own or lease a vehicle that is included in this settlement, you may be able to join the class action and receive compensation. However, you must have registered and submitted a claim form by August 2, 2022, to participate in the settlement..
File an Individual Lawsuit
If your situation is unique or you believe you can secure a better outcome separately, an individual lawsuit might be the preferred route. This allows for a personalized approach to your case.
If you decide to pursue an individual lawsuit, your attorney will draft a complaint detailing your claims against the responsible parties. This complaint will then be filed in court. After this, there will be a discovery process where both sides gather evidence. Depending on the case’s progression, it may lead to a trial or an out-of-court settlement.
In any case, it’s essential to act promptly, as there are statutes of limitations that define the period within which you can file a lawsuit after an injury. Your attorney can advise on these timelines and help ensure you file within the allowable window.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Absolutely. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective Takata airbag, consult with a personal injury lawyer who can provide guidance tailored to your situation. Product liability cases, especially those involving large corporations, can be complex. A skilled attorney can handle these legal challenges and work to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Reach out to a trusted class action lawyer through LegalMatch to discuss your potential case and options.