If you own a car, truck or SUV, there is a good chance that you have gotten an airbag recall in the last three years. Faulty airbags produced by the Takata Corporation have caused 14 deaths and 100 injuries to date.
Takata is responsible for producing millions of airbags that are potentially defective and are installed in vehicles all over the world. These airbags can explode with such force in an accident that the passengers in the car are hit with metal shards and shrapnel, which can be deadly.
To date, Takata has issued several recalls to update and replace the faulty airbags. The company also has been slammed with millions of dollars in fines, but this could be just the start of serious consequences for the company.
It recently was discovered that Takata did not release a crucial incident in 2003 that was related to airbag recalls that have been ordered recently. In November 2015, the NHTSA ordered fines on the company that totaled $70 million. The NHTSA levied these fines for causing major problems for vehicle owners around the world, and also for not telling the truth about them.
The NHTSA also ordered the company to release an internal company report that stated that as early as 2003, the company knew there was a defect in the airbags they were producing. The incident in Switzerland mentioned above occurred in May 2003 and could have provided the company with an early warning that its airbags needed to be recalled and fixed. Rather than fixing the problem, executives just hid it.
The company is alleged to have not alerted the proper authorities about the defect, and it then began to make changes in how the airbags were produced. It did not provide the public with warnings about the defect, as is required by law.
This could all lead to serious legal trouble for Takata. They are being hit with hundreds of personal injury airbag lawsuits and also there is a good chance that there will be criminal prosecutions of those who knew of the defect but said nothing.
Worse, new details have emerged that not only did the company know the airbags had serious flaws, there also were reports that Takata manipulated data so that the faulty airbags would pass government tests.
Takata was aware that their airbags had too much ammonium nitrate propellant, which could explode with excessive force. Even though executives knew about the dangers, they continued to have the airbags installed and they never told car makers about the problem.
Takata recently stated that they are working to fix all of the affected airbags and to have them replaced. But critics note that it took them more than 10 years to make any type of announcement or start a recall. Three years ago, Takata initiated several recalls of Hondas, Nissans and Chryslers that contained the dangerous airbags.
The recalls have since spread to more than 70 million American vehicles and more than 100 million around the world.
It is unlikely that Takata will be able to survive financially after this scandal. And worse, Takata is currently being investigated by the Department of Justice to determine if there is enough evidence to bring criminal charges. Government attorneys are finding that much of the data about the airbags from the company is inaccurate, incomplete and selective. In the worse cases, there is an appearance that data may have been altered to hide the truth.
Replacements of the bad airbags should continue through 2019.
About the Airbag Recall – What Does It Mean for You?
If you have been injured by a defective airbag, you should know that insurance companies and car manufacturers may not provide you the full amount of money that you are entitled to for your personal injuries. Many people who have been maimed by a bad airbag often hire an experienced personal injury attorney so that they can get the medical treatment they need but may not be able to afford.
A good defective airbag attorney can offer you the legal advice and representation that you need so that you can win a personal injury settlement. You also may be eligible for more compensation if you suffered serious injuries.
Many companies may try to not pay for your medical care and lost income, not to mention your pain and suffering. Some car manufacturers may refuse the claim outright. But a good attorney is usually able to obtain compensation for the injured party.
Remember, the airbag and auto manufacturer have a duty to provide you with a safe vehicle. If they did not and this can be proven in court, you are entitled to compensation.