The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that as of January 1, 2009, frontal airbags had saved the lives of over 28,000 people. Eighty-two percent of those were drivers, and 18 percent were passengers.
In general, frontal airbags work with lap/shoulder belts to protect heads and necks during a car accident. When a vehicle is involved in a head-on collision, the driver and/or passenger continue to move forward even after the vehicle has stopped, which can result in collisions with the steering wheel, instrument panel, or windshield. Airbags help prevent these types of injuries.
Unfortunately, what has been implemented in cars and trucks since the 1990s as an important safety feature has recently become a potential safety hazard in millions of vehicles. As of December 2014, potentially defective Takata airbags have led to the recall of nearly 20 million vehicles worldwide.
Individuals who have been injured in an accident that may have involved a defective Takata airbag are encouraged to contact a Takata injury lawyer. A successful claim can help you and your family to put your lives back together.
Takata Airbag Dangers
Florida resident and Air Force Lieutenant Stephanie Erdman was driving her Honda Civic in September 2013 when she got into an accident. Her airbag deployed, but instead of protecting her, it allegedly exploded, sending pieces of metal shrapnel into the interior of the vehicle. Pieces of that shrapnel lodged into her right eye and into her neck. œI was instantly blind on my right side, she told Detroit News. œAnd then I felt gushing blood.
Hospital imaging tests revealed that a piece of metal had punctured and fractured her nasal bone. She has had to undergo multiple surgeries to try to repair the damage. At a Senate Hearing in November 2014, she stated that her vision will never be the same.
Other victims of alleged Takata airbag explosions did not survive, including a 43-year-old pregnant Malaysian woman who crashed while driving a 2003 Honda City compact sedan. Both she and her baby were killed.
Takata Airbag Car Recalls
Critics argue Takata should have taken action a long time ago to protect the public”instead, it tried to shove the problem under the rug and continue business as usual. This, according to a number of news reports that have indicated Takata knew about the defects at least a decade ago, yet failed to alert regulatory agencies.
CBS News, for example, noted in an October 2014 report that Honda first learned a Takata airbag had exploded in one of their vehicles back in 2004, but didn’t implement a recall until 2008.
A November 2014 report in the New York Times stated that according to two former employees, Takata performed œsecret tests on their airbags in 2004, and found defects that could lead to rupture. Yet the executives ordered lab technicians to delete the data.
On October 22, 2014, the NHTSA urged owners of all affected vehicles to act immediately on any recall notices to replace defective Takata airbags. Less than a month later, it called for a nationwide Takata airbag car recall of all driver’s side airbags, but as of December 2014, the company was resisting the expansion to their current regional recalls.
Takata Airbag Personal Injury Lawsuits
Takata is already under investigation by the NHTSA for its mishandling of the airbag problems, and the government has asked for a criminal probe to find out how much the company knew before it started taking action to protect the public.
The company also faces increasing litigation across the country. Victims of Takata airbag explosions, as well as families who have lost a loved one to an accident involving a defective Takata airbag, have filed Takata airbag personal injury lawsuits in an effort to recover damages.
At least six Takata airbag class action lawsuits have also been filed on behalf of customers who bought vehicles with Takata airbags while being unaware of the risks. These customers bought the vehicles based on the reputation of the automakers, and now stand to suffer significant financial losses should the airbag problems cast a shadow on the vehicles, reducing their value.
Takata Injury Lawyers Fighting for Victims
Takata injury lawyers are fighting for victims’ rights. Automakers and manufacturers of auto safety equipment have a responsibility to thoroughly test their products before releasing them onto the market. They are also required to notify government agencies and the public should one of their products prove to be defective”and they must do so in a timely manner, to avoid putting lives at unnecessary risk.
Evidence may soon show that Takata and automakers using Takata airbags did not live up to these responsibilities, and acted much too slowly to protect their customers.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident that involved a defective Takata airbag, you may be eligible for compensation. A successful Takata airbag lawsuit may help you recover damages for medical expenses, physical therapy, medications, hospital stays, lost wages, future lost wages, and more.
At Chaffin Luhana, we offer experienced, compassionate, and dedicated legal representation, and will use our skills and resources to help you present the strongest case possible. For a complementary initial consultation, contact us today.