Airbags are a highly important safety feature required by federal law in all passenger vehicles manufactured after September 1, 1998. By rapidly inflating, airbags provide restraint and impact protection for motorists in the event of a crash. While airbags have saved many lives, they have also caused injuries to motorists, as well. Some injuries have occurred simply because of the force of inflation or the positioning of the motorist while others have occurred due to airbag defects and malfunction.
When a manufacturer learns of a defect in its product that may result in injuries, it has the duty to inform the appropriate government agency and issue a safety recall if necessary. However, the company Takata has come under fire in recent years for neglecting to issue a recall despite awareness of a defect that resulted in serious injuries and multiple fatalities. If you or a loved one sustained injuries due to a Takata airbag malfunction, the experienced airbag recall lawyers at Zaner Harden Law can help you.
Airbags have many different parts that work to control the speed of inflation to prevent additional injuries to motorists. An inherent design defect was present in Takata airbags, meaning that all airbags produced by the company were potentially affected. The design defect affected the inflator, which caused the airbag to potentially rupture upon inflation. When the airbags exploded, pieces of sharp metal and debris could come flying out of the airbag toward the occupants of the vehicle, often causing severe lacerations and other injuries. Though Takata was reportedly aware of this potential malfunction for nearly a decade, it failed to issue a widespread recall until spring of 2015, when the company faced serious sanctions by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
An estimated 28 million cars and trucks have been recalled as a result of potentially defective airbags, including vehicles manufactured by the following automakers:
In addition, more vehicles are being added to the recall on a regular basis and you can check whether your airbag has been recalled by entering your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the NHTSA website. Because of the severe risks associated with these defective airbags, you should not delay in responding to any relevant recalls.
To date, hundreds of people have been injured and at least 10 people have died as a result of Takata airbags. Such injuries and fatalities could have been avoided had Takata issued a timely recall when it first discovered a possible defect. In addition to the $200 million fine imposed by NHTSA, Takata should further be held completely liable for any injuries or wrongful deaths caused by its defective airbags.
The airbag defect lawyers at Zaner Harden Law are representing anyone injured by a Takata airbag or any other type of defective auto part or product. If you would like to discuss a potential case, please contact our office for a free consultation today.