08.27.15

Potential Airbag Lawsuit for Takata

Posted in Products Liability at 2:45 pm by kevin

Airbags are supposed to be one of the safety features of a car, but it has never been completely safe, especially for children who might incur injuries what with the amount of force used when an airbag is deployed. But what is more alarming is the fact that 34 million vehicles are cruising down the road with a defective frontal airbag, based on the airbag lawsuit for Takata investigation.

In the United States, millions of vehicles manufactured by 10 different car makers were recalled so that frontal airbags can be replaced, whether it is on the driver’s side, passenger’s side or both. The airbags were made by a major parts supplier to automobile companies around the globe – Takata. The problem was that the airbags deploy forcibly and explosively, which causes injury or even death.

Because of this, a class action lawsuit has been filed in federal court. What was supposedly a potential airbag lawsuit has become a full blown one.

The real story behind the lawsuit for Takata

Originally, Takata was supposed to use the compound tetrazole as propellant for inflating airbags, which was dubbed as reliable, effective and safe. But the company suddenly switched to an alternative formula that uses ammonium nitrate, which is cheaper but very dangerous. Ammonium nitrate becomes combustible when exposed to moisture and changes in temperature.

Despite this knowledge and objections from the engineers at Takata, the company still pushed through with the production of the airbags. Takata even went as far as to cover up an incident when an airbag ruptured and sprayed metal shrapnel to the car driver. Through a series of covert tests, Takata found out that the steel inflators rupture when the airbag is deployed. Instead of alerting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulators, they ordered the testing data deleted and the ruptured inflaters thrown in the trash.

However, it was only years later that the lawsuit for Takata was made when a reporter from the New York Times uncovered the tests that were deleted. If not for the scrutiny raised by the New York Times, NHTSA would not have reopened an earlier investigation into the company that was inconclusive.

Now that the airbag lawsuit for Takata is in full swing, the company has appeared four times before congressional committees, with lawmakers throwing harsh criticisms at them, especially with the increasing rise of recalls. During a June hearing, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut has urged the company to start a compensation program for victims and affected individuals.

The lawsuit for Takata has also been brought against auto manufacturers that used the potentially defective airbags. Honda, in particular, is pinpointed as not recalling airbags fast enough. Apparently, they have been aware of the problem in 2004, but only made the first recall of a series of recalls in 2008.

If no one discovered the problem with the Takata airbags, many lives could have been lost before anyone would be held liable. It is only right that the Japanese auto supplier be sued for their wrongdoing.

In line with this, consumers are urged to check if their vehicles have defective air bags. They can enter their vehicle identification number into the online VIN-lookup tool of the NHTSA.