Seven Vehicle Manufacturers Recall 10 Million Vehicles Linked to Exploding Airbags
Airbags have saved many lives and prevented car accident victims from suffering more severe injuries. However, defectively designed airbags can provide a false sense of security or expose vehicle occupants to even more serious injury. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that frontal airbags saved 2,788 lives in a one year period. Despite these benefits, faulty airbags have allegedly caused hundreds of deaths and many more injuries.
Defective airbags can cause severe injuries and fatalities in a number of ways: (1) the timing of the airbag deployment might be late or premature; (2) the airbag might fail to deploy at all during a crash; (3) the deployment might be too aggressive or quick; or (4) the airbag can rupture prior to inflation causing a spray of metal shrapnel.
There are now seven auto manufacturers that have joined in a massive recall of defective airbags manufactured by Takata, a leading manufacturer of airbags. The recall is related to a series of injuries and two fatalities resulting from exploding airbags. The manufacturer has conceded that the chemicals used to inflate the airbags were not stored properly. Takata is alleged to have defectively manufactured the airbags and to have failed to maintain adequate quality control records.
The increasing scope of the recall has been prompted by the failure of Takata to keep accurate records that identify vehicles equipped with the faulty airbags. As of last month, seven automakers have joined the recall, including Ford, Nissan, Mazda, BMW, Subaru, Chrysler and Honda. There have been a total of 10 million vehicles recalled related to the explosive airbags since 2008.
When vehicle occupants are injured by defective airbags, injury victims might have a legal claim for damages based on product liability law. While Takata might be liable for the defective manufacturing of the airbags, the automakers also might be financially responsible for injuries caused by the exploding airbags. These types of defective vehicle lawsuits can pose complicated issues and require expert witnesses. However, the fact that Takata has acknowledged that improper handling of the chemicals used to inflate the airbags is the cause of the problem will be important in establishing liability.
The Takata defective airbag issue first garnered national attention when a high school girl was killed by shrapnel from an exploding airbag. 18-year-old Ashley Parham was an all-state cheerleader. A few days after she graduated high school, she went to pick up her little brother from football practice. Her 2001 Honda Accord was in a minor fender bender in the school's parking lot. The vehicle's eight-year-old airbag exploded from the steering wheel. Parham died after shrapnel severed her carotid artery causing her to bleed to death. The police who investigated the accident told Reuters the parking lot incident was a very minor traffic accident that most people walk away from without injury.
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If you or a close family member has been injured because of a defective airbag, contac our Georgia product liability lawyers to learn about your legal rights. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.