Farrar & Ball is leading the way in litigation involving injuries caused by defective Takata airbags. Our work on behalf of motorists injured by airbag explosions and improper deployments has resulted in heightened scrutiny and new disclosures about the extent of the Takata design defects, resulting in one of the largest automotive recalls in modern history involving more than 30 million cars, trucks and SUVs.
The recall began in April 2013 with six automakers, but the extent of the recall has broadened following a steady stream of new disclosures and admissions from Takata executives regarding the magnitude of the airbag defects. Nearly two dozen automotive brands have now joined the recall.
Our team is leading the charge in federal court, representing a Minnesota woman who was totally blinded when her airbag deployed improperly.
The dangerous design flaw involves airbags that use phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant, and which contain defective inflation and propellant components that are documented to deploy improperly during a collision. The Takata airbags have been known to shoot metal pieces and shrapnel into vehicle occupants. More than 130 airbag explosion injuries have been reported, including at least two deaths. Published reports indicate officials from Takata and from Honda may have known about the product defects more than 10 years before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was finally notified and a proper investigation was initiated.
A long series of misstatements and incomplete disclosures by Takata have led to congressional hearings and a record $70 million fine by the NHTSA. Takata initially blamed the problems on propellant chemicals inside the airbag unit, which it said were mishandled and improperly stored during assembly. Next, Takata blamed humid weather, and later suggested that rust and bad welds were also at fault. Takata documents show that one manufacturing facility in Mexico had a defect rate six to eight times above acceptable limits.
In addition, published reports indicate that Takata engineers and executives were aware of the airbag defect dangers years before alerting authorities. The company reportedly conducted secret tests to verify the problem, but according to a New York Times investigation, Takata ordered its engineers to destroy the data and any physical evidence a full four years before the company publicly acknowledged any safety concerns.
The scope of the safety recall has grown steadily and currently includes models by Acura, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Daimler, Dodge/Ram, Ford, GMC, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, Subaru, and Toyota.
Farrar & Ball is actively representing individuals injured by defective airbags. The trial team has special expertise investigating these highly technical cases and aggressively pursuing product liability claims against the world’s largest automakers and parts suppliers. Please contact Farrar & Ball for more information about defective airbag litigation.