Auto Airbag Failure Settlements & Lawsuits

Michael Bennett
October 19, 2017 - 10466 Views

Have You Been Hurt by a Defective Auto Airbag? Did it fail to deploy or explode? We can help. Complete the form to your left or call us today. ALERT: Auto Airbag maker Takata to pay $1 billion to settle US air bag probe. Source: Wall Street Journal

The Japanese company Takata Corporation manufactures various pieces of auto equipment and parts. It was founded in the Shiga Prefecture, Japan, in 1933 and they initially produced cords for parachutes as well as many other types of fabric. The company has always been innovative and it was one of the first in the world to start to manufacture seat belts, with which it started in the 1950s. They were also the very first ever to construct a crash test facility, where their products could be tested. This was in the 1960s. A decade or so later, in 1974, they introduced the very first ever child restraint system.

The company is also known for its auto airbags, which have been used in many different vehicles. Unfortunately, one of these airbags now seems to be defective. This problem has affected ten different vehicle manufacturers, equating to some 8 million vehicles. The defective airbags are used across BMW, Acura, Dodge, Chrysler, General Motors (Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Chevrolet and Pontiac), Ford, Infiniti, Honda, Mazda, Lexus, Subaru, Nissan and Toyota. Those who own one of those vehicles are encouraged to enter their VIN (vehicle identification number) on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website to see if their car is actually affected by the defective product.

Airbag maker, Takata, Ordered To Pay $1 Billion Over Air Bag Fraud – Wall Street Journal 2017. Register your FREE defective airbag claim right now.

List of Autos Affected by Air Bag Class Action Lawsuits

The various Takata airbag recalls have affected more than eight million vehicles made by the 13 manufacturers below. If you own a vehicle made by one of these manufacturers, you can enter your VIN on the NHTSA website to determine if you need to have your vehicle serviced.

If your vehicle is on the list below, it does not necessarily have defective airbag inflators, but you should definitely have it checked by your local dealership.

#1 BMW

The BMW recall has included approximately 840,000 vehicles in the United States. Airbags in these vehicles could improperly inflate in an accident. If you want to check if your vehicle is affected, you can do so on BMW’s website by entering your VIN. The BMW recall includes these models:

  • 2008–2013 1 Series Coupe (incl. 1M)
  • 2008–2013 1 Series Convertible
  • 2008–2013 3 Series Sedan (incl. M3)
  • 2009–2011 335d Sedan
  • 2006–2012 3 Series Sports Wagon

#2 Acura and Honda

Acura and Honda have reported that 10.7 million vehicles in the United States are subject to various recalls for Takata airbag inflator ruptures. Some vehicles are subject to more than one recall; in some cases, both the driver and passenger side airbags need replacing. The Acura and Honda recall includes these models:

  • 2001-2002 Honda Accord
  • 2001-2002 Honda Civic
  • 2002 Honda CR-V
  • 2002 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 Honda Pilot

#3 Dodge

Dodge reports on its website that the following Dodge models are subject to the Takata airbag recall. The site notes that some of the Takata inflators are exploding in low speed accidents in which they should not, which is subjecting occupants to needless possible injury. The Dodge recall includes these models:

  • Challenger 2008-2012
  • Charger 2005-2010
  • Dakota 2005-2011
  • Durango 2004-2009
  • Magnum 2005-2008

#4 Chrysler

Chrysler reported in 2016 that it is recalling 1.9 million cars and SUVs because of defective airbags. The company also stated that it knew of three deaths and five injuries with its vehicles that could have been due to a defective airbag. The recalled Chrysler models are:

  • 2010 Chrysler Sebring
  • 2011-2014 Chrysler 200
  • 2010-2012 Dodge Caliber
  • 2010-2014 Dodge Avenger
  • 2010-2014 Jeep Patriot and Compass SUVs

#5 General Motors (Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Chevrolet, Pontiac)

GM reports that it has recalled 3.6 million vehicles in the last five years that may have had faulty Takata airbag inflators installed. You can enter your VIN on GM’s website to determine if your vehicle has one of the affected inflators. The recalled GM vehicles include these models:

  • 2014-2016 Buick LaCrosse
  • 2014-17 Chevrolet Corvette, Trax, Caprice PPV and Silverado 1500
  • 2014-17 Buick Encore
  • 2014-17 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2015-17 Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and Silverado HD

#6 Ford

Ford reports that it has recalled approximately 1.9 million Ford vehicles that may have defective front driver and/or passenger airbags manufactured by Takata. It notes that the driver and passenger airbags could be different models, so only one may need servicing. The recalled Ford models include:

Vehicles recalled for passenger side inflators

  • 2005-2011 Ford Mustang
  • 2005-2006 Ford GT
  • 2004-2011 Ford Ranger built in North America
  • 2006-2011 Ford Fusion
  • 2007-2010 Ford Edge

#7 Infiniti and Nissan

Nissan and Infiniti report that they are recalling certain models that may be affected by the Takata airbag recall. Most of the vehicles are older models, which can be higher risk because of the possibility of the airbag inflator propellant degrading over time. The recalled Nissan and Infiniti models include:

  • 2004-2006 Nissan Sentra
  • 2003-2005 Infiniti FX35
  • 2003-2004 Infiniti I35
  • 2006 Infiniti M35 and M45

#8 Mazda

Mazda has stated that some of its vehicles contain Takata airbags where the inflator could produce excessive internal pressure over time, which could cause the airbag to inflate with excessive force in a crash. Recalled Mazda vehicles include these models:

  • 2006 – 2007 Mazdaspeed6
  • 2004 – 2006 MPV
  • 2004 – 2011 RX-8
  • 2007 – 2011 CX-7
  • 2007 – 2011 CX-9

#9 Toyota and Lexus

Toyota and Lexus have recalled a total of 23 million vehicles since the start of the Takata airbag recall, with 4.5 million in the US. Both manufacturers remind consumers that both the driver and passenger side airbags could have the defective inflator, or only one could. Possibly affected models in the United States for Toyota and Lexus are:

  • 2003-2008 Corolla
  • 2003-2008 Corolla Matrix
  • 2004-2005 Rav4
  • 2002-2007 Sequoia
  • 2003-2006 Tundra

#10 Subaru

Subaru in 2016 stated that some of its vehicles contain the defective airbag inflators from Takata. It stressed that not every model is involved, but if you see your vehicle listed below, you should have it checked immediately at your dealer. The models that are included in the recall are:

  • 2003-2005 Baja
  • 2004-2005 Impreza
  • 2003-2008 Legacy
  • 2003-2008 Outback

Takata developed and sold the airbag that is now known to be defective between 2000 and 2008. The first ever report of a fatality was received in 2004. This prompted Takata to start an investigation into the claim, as it should do as soon as it is made aware of a defective condition. Worryingly, however, the results of the tests were immediately destroyed, and there was no report that stated the airbags were indeed found to be defective during testing.

Takata Quality Issues

Just as with many other product liability cases, the injuries sustained by people are actually a direct result of the manufacturer’s desire to lower their costs and increase their profits. This ultimately results in corners being cut and manufacturers losing sight of the importance of quality. In 2001, Takata made a significant change to their airbags. They no longer used tetrazole as a chemical propellant. Instead, they decided to use ammonium nitrate, which is far more affordable. However, amonium nitrate is a product that was used by people like Alfred P. Murrah, who was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. It is a known fact that this product is highly unstable, particularly under humidity and heat. Over the past century, numerous people have died as a result of the substance. In a report in the New York Times, Professor Paul Worsey, who is an expert in mining and explosives and teaches at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, stated that ammonium nitrate should never be used in airbags. However, because it is cheap and easy to access, it continues to be very popular.

More than 30 million individual vehicles that have a Takata airbag inflator unit have been recalled. These were all manufactured at a facility in Mexico. The recall happened in the spring of 2014. In the way of an NHTSA investigation, a further 3 million vehicles were recalled in June the same year. Most recalls so far have focused on cars that are in humid, warm parts of the country, including Southern California and the deep South. However, on November 18, 2014, the NHTSA asked Takata to recall all vehicles fitted with the device across the country.

Examples of Air Bag Lawsuits

DOJ (Department of Justice) Criminal Investigation

Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut called on the DOJ to start a criminal investigation into Takata on November 7, 2014. A few days later, executive members of both Honda and Takata were ordered to testify about their responsibility in this matter in front of a Senate committee. Business Day reported that Hiroshi Shimuzu, the Senior VP for Takata, expressed deep regret over the victims. However, he was very evasive whenever direct questions were posed.

The criminal investigation currently continues. According to the New York Times, Takata was aware of the issue since 2004, when the first fatality occurred. Two employees have stated to the New York Times that the company began ‘secret testing’ so that they would be able to determine what the effects were. However, this testing started at least four years before the company officially admitted to be carrying out these types of tests at all. Furthermore, the company is accused of destroying documentation in relation to these tests.

Class Action Lawsuit

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Takata in Seattle, Washington. Here, the plaintiffs have stated that Takata was aware of the evidence that their device was unsafe and that they deliberately concealed this evidence from the public. One defendant in the lawsuit is Honda Motor Company and the plaintiffs alleged that they were also aware of the problem with the airbag and the inflator. Millions of Honda vehicles have the Takata device installed. The lawsuit suggests that both Takata and Honda described the incidents as ‘anomalies’ and dismissed them.

Honda Accord Settlement

Takata, so far, has only admitted to the New York Times that some of the personnel at the factory in Mexico had “improperly stored chemicals and mishandled the manufacture of explosive propellants”, and that they had “failed to keep adequate records.” This was stated in June 2014 to reporter Tabuchi.

Meanwhile, further lawsuits are being filed against the company, many of which are relating to people who lost their lives due to injuries relating to Takata airbags. The outcomes of the majority of these cases are completely confidential. However, it is a known fact that Takata settled in one case relating to a Honda Accord, paying $3 million in damages. This was after the airbag exploded after an accident.

Takata continues to publicly deny any kind of deliberate wrongdoing.

Why Do People File Takata Air Bag Lawsuits?

The Takata airbags have been manufactured in a defective manner. The devices have been responsible for no less than four deaths, as well as well over 100 individual injuries. For Nissan, global auto manufacturer, the problem is in the chemical propellant that is used in the Takata airbags, which often deteriorates over time, particularly if it is in a high humidity area. When this propellant starts to degrade, pressure builds up in the metal housing of the inflator. This will eventually lead to it rupturing. When this happens and the airbag deploys, metal shrapnel left over from the inflator is launched out of the bag, directly at the vehicle’s occupants.

The injuries linked to Takata airbags are quite significant.

Sometimes, the airbag will deploy explosively and without warning. The metal literally turns into shrapnel, which can tear through a person’s flesh and bone. In most cases, injuries are found to the facial area and the upper body. In a case filed in California, police who attended the scene immediately believed that the victim had been shot in the face. In a case filed in Orlando, police assumed that the victim had sustained injuries from a knife attack and had started a criminal investigation in order to find the perpetrator. During autopsy, however, metal and plastic fragments were found in the woman’s neck.

You Know Your Legal Rights?

If you have been seriously injured, or you know someone who has by a failed airbag, it is vital that you seek legal assistance immediately. You may be able to hold Takata responsible for the issue, which means you could receive compensation for things such as pain and suffering, medical bills and other types of losses. A few of the things that you may be compensated for include:

  • Lost wages
  • Past and future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Special accommodations, which includes home health care aides

If the injuries proved to be fatal and you are filing a suit on behalf of that person, you may also be able to receive additional compensation.

This includes:

  • Loss of consortium or companionship (these are marital benefits)
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of support and services

You must be ready, however, to have your claim hotly contested by Takata. This is why it is vital that you seek advice from a properly trained lawyer. You may also want to consider filing a class action suit, if you are aware of others who have experienced similar issues with the Takata airbag.

Get legal help now by registering your claim with us.

Michael Bennett

About Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett is Editor-in-Chief of Consumer Protect.com. Since 1999, he's worked across a multitude of areas of consumer protection including defective products, environmental issues, identity theft, predatory lending and more. If you find his articles helpful please share them with your readers.