Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Air bag recall illustrates the wide reach of a bad product

The Takata airbag recall in 2017 affected millions of automobile owners and cost automakers millions of dollars.

The recall was an example of a defective product that was capable of causing death and serious injuries. The manufacturer foisted defective air bags on an unsuspecting American public, as well as car owners around the world.

The recall issue

The problem that brought about the need for recall was that too much force could cause Takata air bag inflators to explode, showering car occupants with shrapnel. Unfortunately, 16 people died and 180 sustained injuries in this way. In a 2017 lawsuit filed in federal court in Miami, automobile manufacturers Toyota, Mazda, Subaru and BMW agreed on a settlement that would compensate owners of these makes of cars and ensure that the replacement of the defective Takata airbags in their automobiles.

Settling with car owners

Courts urged automakers to increase efforts to find the owners of the cars affected by the airbag issue so they could bring their cars in for repair. In complying, the owners were to receive compensation for lost wages or the cost of childcare and they could receive reimbursement if they needed the use of a rental car while their own was being repaired. Manufacturers could also offer the owners up to $500 each.

An ongoing case

A few months before the automakers agreed to the $553 million settlement to compensate the car owners, Takata Corporation pleaded guilty to fraud in hiding the airbag defects from the public and agreed to pay $1 billion in penalties. Honda, Nissan and Ford were next up in the ongoing court case.

Learning about product liability

A personal injury attorney will tell you there is often more than one party liable in a case involving a defective product. For example, a wholesaler and installer in addition to the manufacturer. You may have owned one of the cars in which the Takata airbags needed replacing. If so, you hopefully did not come to harm prior to the repair, but unfortunately, defective products sometimes have a wide reach and cause injuries more often than one would think.


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