What the Takata airbag recall expansion to nearly 34 million vehicles could mean for you
The May 2015 Takata airbag recall expansion makes this automotive recall the largest in our nation’s history, potentially affecting one in seven of the more than 250 million vehicles on American roads, and already linked to at least six deaths and dozens of injuries.
Do you have a Takata airbag case?
To date, ten automakers including Honda, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, and BMW have recalled automobiles in the U.S. due to the airbag defect. If you believe you or a loved one may have been injured in a car accident because of a Takata airbag defect—for instance, where the airbag released flying pieces of metal and chemicals on impact– talk with an experienced auto liability attorney, like those at Ashcraft & Gerel, with the expertise to quickly assess your case and provide the representation you deserve.
Read the FAQ on the Takata airbag case that Joseph Musso, Ashcraft & Gerel partner and head of our auto liability practice, put together to help for those seeking legal guidance. We welcome a conversation with you. All consultations with our attorneys are completely free and confidential, and you pay nothing unless a recovery is made on your behalf.
Why was the recall made in the first place?
First developed in the late 1990s and placed in 1998 model year cars, Takata designed these airbags to inflate using an explosive. The first recall was issued in 2013 after reports that the airbags are prone to inflate with too much force, causing shrapnel from the metal canister encasing the explosive and chemicals used to develop the explosive to also explode throughout the car, potentially resulting in severe injuries to those inside.
Why has this recall been expanded?
Increased public pressure based on a groundswell of troubling evidence that the company had known about—and hidden—fatal flaws in its airbag propellant systems is the reason for this unprecedented recall expansion.
In recent filings with the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA), Takata admitted flaws in the design and manufacturing of the airbags, as its airbags could be prone to over aggressive combustion due to degradation of the explosive propellant. Takata also stated that it had uncovered leaks in the airbag inflators that could allow the introduction of moisture into the system, making the airbag more susceptible to exploding with too much force. The explosive is based on a chemical compound found in common fertilizers. Analysts say Takata’s inflating propellant is cheaper than competitors’ propellants, but particularly volatile.
Notably, customer complaints of rupturing Takata airbags date back as early as 2000.
In February, U.S. regulators began to issue a $14,000 a day fine against Takata, citing Takata’s lack of cooperation in the NHTSA investigation. With this recent expansion of the recall, the NHTSA will suspend the fine. Takata’s recall is expected to cost the company an estimated $4-$5 billion.
Our attorneys are here to help
Takata has now admitted not only that their airbags can cause extreme harm and death to drivers, but that it was aware of this major safety issue for some time. If you or someone you love was injured or killed by a Takata airbag, you deserve justice from them. Ashcraft & Gerel’s experienced auto product liability attorneys are here to help you. Please contact us online or call us today at (800) 674-9725 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.