The Takata airbag recall now affects 42 million vehicles worldwide. The LA Times recently referred to it as “the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.” As you may know, these faulty airbag inflators can cause airbags to explode, shooting shrapnel into drivers and passengers. Last week, Takata Corp. pleaded guilty to a criminal charge for a scheme to conceal the deadly defect in millions of its airbag inflators. The faulty inflators are to blame for now 16 deaths and over 180 injuries worldwide.
Watch at the beginning of the video below for an idea of what one of these airbag explosions looks like:
About the Airbag Recall
Unlike most other airbag manufacturers, Takata uses an explosive chemical in their inflators called ammonium nitrate. This chemical is cheaper to use than other inflation methods, but can unfortunately deteriorate when exposed to prolonged airborne moisture. This means that vehicles in more humid climates (including California) are at a higher risk. The map below indicates the highest risk zone in red.
If you live in one of these high risk areas, click here for more information about how to determine if your car is safe.
Takata’s Guilty Plea
Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata Corp. pleaded guilty to a criminal charge after admitting to hiding problems that can cause inflators to explode with too much force, hurling shrapnel into drivers and passengers. U.S. prosecutors are still seeking extradition of three former Takata executives from Japan.
Detroit Federal Judge George Steeh accepted a guilty plea to the fraud charge last Monday. Takata has agreed to pay $850 million in restitution to automakers, $125 million for victims and families and a $25-million criminal fine. In addition to that, Takata also faces dozens of consumer and State lawsuits.
Law Suit Against the Five Automakers
Attorneys for The People filed suit last Monday (02/27/17) against Takata, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, and BMW. They are claiming that these car companies knew that Takata’s products were dangerous but continued to use them for years to save money. You can read about the specific allegations against the five automakers here.
Please note that while only these five automakers are involved in this law suit, there are over 30 automakers total involved in the recall (including Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, GM, Mazda and many more). We urge you to check your specific vehicle and read more about the airbag recall here.
Have a serious injury and need legal advice? Contact Howard Blau.
Please Be Sure to Read the Following References:
“Here’s what a Takata airbag explosion looks like.” CNNMoney Youtube. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6OMbT5S7UY.
“Plantiffs: 5 automakers knew Takata air bags were dangerous.” The Associated Press. 27 February 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017 from http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/3d281c11a96b4ad082fe88aa0db04305/Article_2017-02-27-US–Takata-Criminal%20Charge/id-3acec97965cf4898be352b470fae0762.
“Takata pleads guilty to fraud in air bag case involving 16 deaths.” Los Angeles Times. 27 February 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017 from http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-takata-criminal-charges-20170227-story.html.
“Takata will pay $1 billion for fraud.” Los Angeles Times. 28 February 2017. Retrieved from issue 28 February 2017.