Families across the country have been outraged to learn that the airbags that are supposed to keep them safe within vehicles have actually been putting them at risk of life-threatening injuries, prompting growing numbers of plaintiffs to file airbag recall lawsuits.
In the latest news regarding the Takata airbag controversy, federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the company’s alleged cover-up and Honda has announced that it is expanding its recall of vehicles that contain the defective airbags. This comes on the heels of a fifth death that was reportedly linked to the exploding airbags. The latest fatality involved a driver in Malaysia, who was killed in July when a Takata airbag exploded and sent shrapnel flying through the vehicle.
In addition to the growing numbers of airbag recall lawsuits filed against the Tokyo-based airbag manufacturer, Takata is expected to send representatives to testify at a hearing scheduled late in November by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. Officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are also expected to play a role in the upcoming hearing.
Takata conducted secret tests
It has been estimated that as many as 12 to 17 million vehicles had received the Takata airbags. Nearly a dozen auto manufacturers recalled vehicles containing the defective products. The NHTSA warned consumers and automakers that in the event of a crash, the Takata airbags may become overinflated and then explode, causing severe injuries from shrapnel and chemicals. Already, many families have joined airbag recall class action lawsuits, demanding compensation from the company.
In a recent investigative piece by The New York Times, former Takata workers have claimed that the company conducted secret tests in 2004 after it learned that its airbags had ruptured, injuring an Alabama driver. The company obtained 50 of the faulty airbags from scrapyards and proceeded to conduct secret, after-hours tests. In two of the airbags, the steel inflaters cracked, which can cause rupturing.
Although Takata engineers immediately began looking for a way to fix the problem, the company decided not to alert federal regulators. Instead, Takata allegedly ordered its workers to delete information pertaining to the tests and get rid of the tested airbags. As a result, the rupturing airbags were not recalled until November of 2008, after scores of people had already been injured and a handful killed.
Now, there are at least five class action lawsuits regarding the airbag recall pending in courts around the country. A group of plaintiffs has requested that the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidate federal lawsuits into an MDL. The plaintiffs propose that the litigation should proceed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida before Judge James King.
Limited time to file an airbag recall lawsuit
Far too many families give up their right to pursue just compensation for injuries and wrongful death simply because they failed to consult qualified product liability lawyers in time. If the statute of limitations expires before a lawsuit is filed, you may never receive compensation.
If you or a family member was a victim of an exploding Takata airbag, you need to take action right away to preserve your right to file an airbag recall lawsuit.
The auto defect lawyers at Eisbrouch Marsh are dedicated to holding negligent companies responsible for the harm that their defective products cause. With more than 20 years of litigation experience, you can trust our legal team to provide the guidance you need and the expertise you deserve. Call us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
- The New York Times, Takata Saw and Hid Risk in Airbags in 2004, Former Workers Say, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/business/airbag-maker-takata-is-said-to-have-conducted-secret-tests.html?_r=1
- USA Today, Fifth Takata airbag death; feds begin criminal probe, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/11/13/takata-airbags-honda-death-five/18963827/