Takata Air Bag Recall Lawsuit

Takata Corporation, a Japanese maker of air bags used by auto manufacturers, is believed to have sold bad airbags to at least 11 different automakers dating to at least as far back as 2001.  The airbags can rupture and spray bits of metal into drivers and front-seat passengers.  The first reported airbag shrapnel deployment occurred in 2004.  However, Takata did not issue a recall until 2008.

Experts are concerned that in high-humidity environments, moisture can seep inside the airbag inflator and destabilize the chemical explosive. The faulty propellant inside air bags is unstable and can explode even after a minor accident, sending metal shards flying into the cabin. This could result in the airbag inflating too forcefully even after a minor-fender bender. Many people have been injured, blinded, or killed when the airbags sprayed metal or plastic shrapnel.In October 2014, the government added 4.74 million U.S.-market vehicles sold by Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan and General Motors to the recall list for containing faulty Takata airbags.  This is a serious safety issue, which can result in serious injury or even death.  Owners of vehicles that contain a Takata airbag are urged to have the vehicle repaired as soon as possible.

In total, more than 14 million vehicles from 11 automakers have been recalled for the defect, most in the last two years. The Takata air bag defect has been linked to at least four deaths and more than 100 injuries, beginning as long ago as 2004.Air Inflator Shrapnel

The National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration, in what qualifies as very strong language for the agency, says it’s telling owners “with urgency” to get their recalled cars fixed at once as a matter “essential to personal safety.”

Is your Takata airbag under recall?

Recent recalls in the United States have focused on cars sold or registered in states and territories with high humidity and temperatures, which may have been a contributing factor. Those include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

However, deaths linked to exploding airbags have occurred in non-humid states like Virginia, Oklahoma, and California. Because the recalled vehicles are older models, it is likely that thousands have been driven away from states were recalls were issued.

Some are calling for an expansion of the recalls, according to Reuters.

Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, where some of the air bag incidents have occurred, wrote to NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman urging the agency to further expand the recalls. 

“NHTSA should ensure that owners of cars that are not registered in Florida, but spend a substantial portion of the year operating in the state of Florida are covered by the recall,” Nelson wrote. 

He was referring to “snowbirds,” people who spend winters in Florida to escape the cold in the northern part of the United States.

In his letter to Friedman, Nelson also said automakers with defective air bags should offer loaner cars or rental car reimbursements for consumers unable to get their cars fixed quickly.

You can see the full list of recalled cars here.

Takata Airbag Infographics-01

Takata Airbag Recall History

1990’s: The bad air bags were developed by Takata in an effort to make air bags more compact and to reduce the toxic fumes that early air bags often emitted when deployed. The redesigned air bags are inflated by means of an explosive based on a common compound used in fertilizer. That explosive is encased in a metal canister.

2004: An air bag exploded in a Honda Accord in Alabama, shooting out metal fragments and injuring the car’s driver. At a loss to explain the incident, Honda and its Japanese air bag supplier deemed it “an anomaly” and did not issue a recall or seek the involvement of federal safety regulators.

2007: Three additional ruptures reported to Honda

2008: After settling confidential financial claims with people injured by the air bags, Honda finally issues a safety recall in late 2008, for only a small fraction — about 4,200 — of its vehicles eventually found to be equipped with the potentially explosive air bags.

2009: Three more Takata air bags rupture, killing two people. In July 2009, Honda recalled 510,000 more Honda and Acura vehicles. In its recall documents, Honda did not mention injuries or deaths, referring only to cases of “unusual driver air bag deployment.”

2010: Honda ordered the recall of an additional 438,000 Accord, Civic, CR-V, Odyssey, Pilot and Acura models, again not acknowledging past injuries or deaths.

2011: Honda issues recall for nearly 900,000 vehicles

2012: Over 900,000 Takata bad airbags recalled

2013: 3.5 million airbags are recalled including BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota.

2014: In June, more than 4 million cars produced by nine automakers are affected by regional recalls. In October, the agency revised its bad air bag recall list to include five more automakers and raised its total by a million vehicles to 6.1 million.

Free legal consultation

Heninger Garrison Davis is now investigating Takata bad airbag lawsuits, and is offering free legal consultations to injured persons, as well as their families, who may have been hurt by a defective airbag manufactured by Takata. To learn more about the legal options available to you, please contact us today to schedule your free bad airbag lawsuit review.

Learn More

The New York Times: It Looked Like a Stabbing, but Takata Airbag Was the Killer

 Reuters: More lawsuits filed against Honda, Takata over air bags

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Recall & Defects Website