Takata Airbags can be Dangerous

What you need to know about Takata airbag lawsuits

We opt for a vehicle after thorough research to assure ourselves that it’s 100% defect-free. A vehicle is not a joke. Passengers’ lives depend on the quality of a vehicle. What if that assurance is taken away from us?

This is what happened with Takata Corporation. Although it’s a well-known Japanese automotive parts company that has been around for over 87 years, Takata Airbags swept millions of customers’ trust by releasing defective airbags, killing and injuring many lives in the process.

What went wrong? Here’s everything you need to know about defective Takata airbags.

Why are Takata Airbags life-threatening?

It is a no-brainer that airbags break noses, bones and even cause spinal injuries on rare occasions. However, these risks are usually limited to children, elderly and people below average height. The point is, a good airbag saves millions of lives.

Airbags are usually meant to be deployed based on a type of military munitions technology. It is simply a controlled explosion. When the pressure is released, if the airbag is faulty, it can cause fatal injuries.

This is where Takata’s approach was horribly wrong. Takata airbags were the only ones in the market that are made of the volatile chemical Ammonium Nitrate.

According to the testings of an independent lab concluded that ammonium nitrate can destabilize when it is exposed to humidity and heat for a long period of time. That problem paired with the design fault might support the moisture to leak inside.

Proving the theory, most of the Takata airbag-related accidents happened in the states where usually have warm weather such as Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama.

Takata airbags are defective to the point that they can’t save any more lives. For starters, their airbag inflator (metal cartridge that contains a chemical propellant) has a huge design defect.

So, when the inflator deploys the Takata airbag, it becomes aggressive, causing it to rupture and shoot out metal shards injuring the passengers.

The conspicuous danger is quite daunting. So much so, it has managed to kill 23 people across the globe and injure over 290 people.

At one point a Democratic Senator compared the defective Takata airbags to a live hand grenade.

Needless to say, at this point, it is clear that defective Takata airbags pose a grave threat to human lives. In fact, most of the injuries that happened from Takata airbags exploding were gory and gruesome.

For example, when a minor car accident happened in California, the Police immediately went to the scene and assumed that the driver was shot in the face.

In another instance, there had been an accident in Georgia and the Police thought the female driver was murdered by severe throat wounds.

As it turned out, both the drivers died because of faulty Takata airbags.

In another accident, shrapnel tore a woman’s carotid artery, and she later claimed that she had strokes, a seizure, and a speech disorder due to excessive blood loss. She barely survived.

Another woman in a car accident in Florida had her nasal bone fractured by a piece of shrapnel. The piece got stuck in her eye, consequently blinding her. Another car accident in Puerto Rico left a woman with her jaw sliced open.

All of these happened thanks to Takata airbags.

Defective Takata airbags can cause Burns, Bruises, Cuts/lacerations to the face, arms, neck, throat, torso, Broken/fractured bones, teeth, vision impairment, Larynx or vocal cord injury, Complications from blood loss, Permanent disfigurement, Mild to severe brain injury, permanent hearing loss or impairment, Injury to pregnancy, Facial/neck/limb paralysis, nerve damage or Death.

Did they know they have faulty Airbags?

As of 2014, Takata held a 20% market share and wasn’t a newbie at making airbags. In fact, they had begun manufacturing airbags since 1988. It is believed that the faults may have been present during as early as 1998.

According to Honda, they knew over 100 injuries and 13 deaths that occurred because of Takata airbags.

In 2013, 3.6 million cars were recalled under the suspicion of faulty Takata airbags.

Moreover, the internal company emails revealed that even the Takata employees had the same concerns about high temperature related risks as early as in 2006. This is 9 years before the big nationwide recall.

However, the sad part is, Takata knew that their product is faulty since at least 2004. It is very much possible that they were aware that the airbag inflators could burst, eject metal debris, and harm lives.

Not surprisingly, they knew the fault in their airbags even in 2000 after running their own secret tests. In 2004 after Takata’s biggest fear of having faulty inflators was realized, they decided to hide it from the authorities.

To further conceal the defect and possibly to avoid faulty airbags’ lawsuit, between 2004 and 2007 Takata entered into confidential financial settlements with several injured people by ruptured airbags.

Yet, they didn’t admit to their fault until 2015.

The lawsuit and the bankruptcy

Consequently, in 2015, Takata was fined $200 million by the U.S. Department of Traffic. Needless to say, the reason was, denying and delaying releasing the information about their faulty product. If they had admitted sooner, many lives would have been saved.

After pleading guilty to criminal misconduct, the Takata lawsuit reached a $1 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, in January 2017. The impacted automakers were given an $850 million of the sum, while a $125 million was spared for the victims. Plus, $25 million serves as a fine.

After Takata declared bankruptcy in 2017, Chinese-owned Key Safety Systems acquired the company for $1.6 billion.

Have you or someone you know been injured or killed because of faulty airbags?

Although the specific models of affected vehicles aren’t fully recognized yet, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Honda, General Motors, Nissan, Subaru, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, etc. are included in the list.

Caranddriver.com’s latest update conveys that there are still 15.9 million defective Takata airbags yet to be found, based on a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report.

No matter how many faulty airbags lawsuits are there to prove wrongdoers guilty, it is human lives that suffer from these cheap and malfunctioning products. The bottom line is, each and every company should be responsible for what they manufacture by making human safety their number 1 priority.

Our experienced team of attorneys can fight for you and help you get the compensation you deserve. Do you need to speak with someone? Call us now or complete our online form and we will evaluate your case.