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Takata Recall Affects 34 Million Cars and a Countless Number of Victims

July 17, 2015 Motor Vehicle Accidents

As many have probably read, the Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata has expanded its record-breaking recall to almost 34 million vehicles.  The decision to issue the massive recall comes after the company’s bitter efforts to resist regulatory interference.

The Recall

Takata’s recall involves both driver side and passenger side air bags.  It builds on various regional recalls that were already in place and expands them nationally.  The recall affects 11 major automakers in the U.S, such as Toyota, Nissan, BMW, GM, and Honda. A recall of this magnitude – affecting approximately 33.8 million cars – will take years to process.  In fact, this particular air bag recall has been occurring in piecemeal over the past few months and the concern over the airbags goes back as far as 2008.  Many southern states were already under a regional recall and various individual automakers had employed their own recall.

The recall focuses on the too-violent explosion of the air bags upon impact and the resulting metal/plastic shrapnel that is propelled into the vehicle.  The air bags deploy so violently and project dangerous shrapnel with such a force that multiple people have died in the United States and abroad. It is due to a faulty design that the airbag inflates with such excessive force.  In 1999 Takata executives decided to manufacture and use a cheaper propellant for their airbags. This propellant was ammonium nitrate, which was known to be a risky and volatile substance.  Despite this risk, the company opted to use it.

Beyond the Recall

However, the recall most likely does not cover all of the cars with the Takata air bag.  Takata is one of the largest air bag manufacturers in the world.  This means there are most likely a significant number of people who are driving around in vehicles that contain the dangerous airbags.  Furthermore, the imposition of the recall does not necessarily compensate victims for their injuries or the devaluation of their cars.  Regardless of the recall, if you own a Takata airbag containing vehicle, you have been exposed to a dangerous and defective product.

Canadian plaintiffs have recognized this key fact and have instituted a series of class action lawsuits.  The lawsuits vary in details but all claim that the company and its U.S. subsidiary negligently designed and manufactured dangerous.  The lawsuits also alleged the company knew about the dangers of its air bags for more than a decade but failed to provide a timely warning.

While a class action lawsuit may be difficult for many to pursue, individual product liability, personal injury, and even wrongful death lawsuits are an option if you have been harmed while driving a vehicle with the dangerous Takata airbag.  Products liability lawsuits allow victims of dangerous or defective products to hold the product maker accountable for negligent design/manufacturing or failing to warn of the dangers.  In the case of the Takata airbag, there is evidence out there that the company knew of the dangers of its airbags long before issuing the recall and resisting efforts by American safety regulators.

Speak with an Experienced Attorney

If you or a loved one has been in a motor vehicle accident, while driving a Takata airbag containing vehicle, please speak with an experienced attorney who can help evaluate your case and evidence. Please contact Wallace Childers PLLC if you need help.