Defective Products

Takata Airbag Recall Legal Help

Metal shards from Takata’s exploding airbags have been linked to serious injuries and deaths. Company issues massive airbag recall while the injured and families of the killed seek legal help.

Takata airbag recallWhat is the Takata airbag recall and what are the injuries?

More than 14 million vehicles from 10 automakers that contain Takata airbags have been recalled worldwide. Airbags installed from model years 2000 through 2011 have been shown to deploy explosively, injuring and even killing passengers by spraying metal shards throughout the cabin. Injuries include lacerations, bleeding, blindness, burns, and even death.

How many have been injured or killed?

The airbags, made by Japanese auto supplier Takata, have already been linked to at least five deaths and more than 139 serious injuries.

What is wrong with the airbags?

According to Nissan, the solid chemical propellant used in Takata airbags can deteriorate over time, especially under conditions of high absolute humidity. As the propellant degrades, it builds up excessive pressure in the metal inflator housing, causing it to rupture. When the air bag deploys, metal shrapnel is launched through the airbag and at the occupants in the vehicle.

What did Takata know?

Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed against the manufacturer allege that Takata knew about the exploding airbags for over a decade, but failed to issue recalls or notify federal safety officials until recently.

Since as far back as 1995, Takata expressed concern over using the propellant compound, ammonium nitrate, in a patent application, saying it was vulnerable to temperature changes and under excessive pressure, “may even blow up.”

The defect initially emerged in 2001, when Isuzu recalled vehicles with the airbag problem. Unfortunately, manufacturing issues were not resolved. The first injury linked to a faulty Takata airbag was reported in 2004, when an air bag exploded in a Honda Accord in Alabama. Metal fragments shot out, injuring the car’s driver. Deemed an anomaly, no recall was issued.

The New York Times published a report suggesting that Takata knew about the airbag issues in 2004, conducting secret tests off work hours to verify the problem. The results confirmed major issues with the inflators, and engineers quickly began researching a solution. But instead of notifying federal safety regulators and moving forward with fixes, Takata executives ordered its engineers to destroy the data and dispose of the physical evidence. This occurred a full four years before Takata publicly acknowledged the problem in 2008.

Takata first said that propellant chemicals were mishandled and improperly stored during assembly, which supposedly caused the metal airbag inflators to burst open due to excessive pressure inside. In July, the company blamed humid weather and spurred additional recalls.

According to documents reviewed by Reuters, Takata says that rust, bad welds, and even chewing gum dropped into at least one inflator are also at fault. The same documents show that in 2002, Takata’s plant in Mexico allowed a defect rate that was “six to eight times above” acceptable limits, or roughly 60 to 80 defective parts for every 1 million airbag inflators shipped.

News:

11/12/14: Takata revealed that it has changed the chemical composition of the propellant used in its airbags. An unnamed official speaking with Reuters says the change was part of ongoing improvements in the company’s products and is not in response to any defects, including, assumedly, the defect that has caused Takata airbags to shoot out metal shrapnel upon deployment.

11/18/14: In light of a recent airbag failure in a 2007 Ford Mustang in North Carolina—which was not part of the original “high-humidity areas” Takata recall—the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is calling for a national recall of cars equipped with the defective Takata driver’s-side airbags.

12/30/14: Now Chrysler, Ford, Honda, BMW and Toyota have all expanded their recalls to a nationwide level.

How a Takata Airbag Lawsuit Can Help

Levy Konigsberg LLP is currently accepting defective airbag induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or a loved one were injured or killed by metal shrapnel from an exploding airbag, or the airbag inflated or failed to inflate and you were injured, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free confidential consultation, please call 1.800.988.8005 or submit an email inquiry above.

Recall list (Updated as of 10/22/14 NHTSA advisory):

Owners should check their VIN periodically as manufacturers continue to add VINs to the database. Once owner recall notices are available, owners can retrieve a copy from SaferCar.gov, or will receive one by U.S. mail and are advised to carefully follow the enclosed instructions. Look up by your VIN here.

BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
  • 2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
  • 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
  • 2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
  • 2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
  • 2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
  • 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
  • 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
  • 2008 – Dodge Ram 5500
  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango
  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota
  • 2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300
  • 2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen

Ford: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2004 – Ranger
  • 2005 – 2006 GT
  • 2005 – 2007 Mustang

General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe
  • 2005 – Saab 9-2X

Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2001 – 2007 Honda Accord)
  • 2001 – 2002 Honda Accord
  • 2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
  • 2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
  • 2003 – 2011 Honda Element
  • 2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
  • 2006 – Honda Ridgeline
  • 2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
  • 2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
  • 2005 – Acura RL

Mazda: 64,872 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2003 – 2007 Mazda6
  • 2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6
  • 2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8
  • 2004 – 2005 MPV
  • 2004 – B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi: 11,985 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2004 – 2005 Lancer
  • 2006 – 2007 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima
  • 2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra
  • 2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35
  • 2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
  • 2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

Subaru: 17,516 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2003 – 2005 Baja
  • 2003 – 2005 Legacy
  • 2003 – 2005 Outback
  • 2004 – 2005 Impreza

Toyota: 877,000 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2002 – 2005 Lexus SC
  • 2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla
  • 2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix
  • 2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra

Learn More:

How a Takata Airbag Lawsuit Can Help

Levy Konigsberg LLP is currently accepting defective airbag induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or a loved one were injured or killed by metal shrapnel from an exploding airbag, or the airbag inflated or failed to inflate and you were injured, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free confidential consultation, please call 1.800.988.8005 or submit an email inquiry above.

For more information about the law firm's practice areas please contact Levy Konigsberg LLP at 1-212-605-6200 or 1-800-988-8005, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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