In June, we discussed a shocking development in the Takata airbag saga in which it was discovered that the manufacturer was replacing defective airbags with more defective airbags. Now, numerous sources are reporting that an eighth death has been linked to the issue that has resulted in the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.
According to Honda, a woman’s death in a September 2014 accident involving a rented 2001Civic was related to a rupture in a defective Takata airbag inflator. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reportedly confirmed Honda’s findings. As a result, this is the seventh death in the U.S. – including one near Houston, Texas – and eighth overall linked to Takata’s faulty airbags.
Putting Profits Before Safety
Takata is accused of engaging in a pattern of consistently ignoring warning signs and foregoing safety inspections in order to cut costs. In one particularly troubling example, a Congressional report alleges that Takata halted safety inspections over a period of three years from 2009 through 2011– and this was after automakers had begun initiating recalls.
Members of Congress involved in investigating Takata’s misconduct have said that the issue could have been identified much earlier, resulting in a significantly smaller number of vehicles with defective airbags, had Takata followed appropriate safety practices.
With its recent expansion to over 34 million vehicles, approximately one out of every seven vehicles in the U.S. is now subject to the Takata airbag recall. The affected vehicles range from model years 2000 to 2014 and include cars, trucks and SUVs from 14 major manufacturers.
What to Do if Your Vehicle Has Been Recalled
News outlets have reported that it may take years for Takata to replace all of its defective airbags. So, if your vehicle has a defective airbag, what should you do?
• Get in line. Contact your local dealer and let them know that you need a replacement airbag.
• Follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. For example, while Toyota is recommending that vehicle owners disable defective airbags, General Motors is not making a similar recommendation.
Remember, you can check the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website to find out if your vehicle is subject to the Takata airbag recall. To do so you will need your vehicle identification number (VIN), which should be located in your driver’s side door jamb or on a small metal plate at the base of your windshield.
Contact Morrow & Sheppard LLP for More Information
Lawyers Nick Morrow and John D. Sheppard both come from backgrounds as partners in major law firms. In their past lives, they represented some of the world’s biggest corporations and insurance companies in high-stakes litigation.
Today, they use this experience to help victims of defective products fight for just compensation. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident and believe that a faulty airbag or other defective product may be to blame, contact our Houston law offices to schedule a free consultation.