Takata Airbag Failures: Warning Signs
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has called the Takata airbag failure ‘the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.’ Vehicles from 30 different automakers have been impacted and 19 different car makers have issued official recalls to replace the frontal airbags on either the passenger’s or driver’s side. Model years impacted are in cars released from the model year 2002 through 2015.
How is the Takata Airbag Unsafe?
NHTSA has determined that the primary cause of the failure is this – airbags which use ammonium nitrate-based propellant with no chemical drying agent. Factors which can affect the Takata airbags include:
- High temperatures
- Age of vehicle
- Environmental moisture.
Many of the older Takata airbags have been shown to improperly inflate the airbags in a way that could send shrapnel into the vehicle’s occupant. There have been 11 deaths and approximately 180 injuries due to this safety defect in the United States alone.
What Happened to the Airbag Inflator?
The root of the issue is the airbag inflator. Typically, this inflator is a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers. At times, the propellant wafers have ignited into flame with explosive force.
When an inflator housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can spatter throughout the passenger cabin. This is a potentially disastrous result from a safety device meant to save lives. This Takata airbag inflator issue will impact approximately 42 million vehicles in the United States. The total number of airbags impacted will ultimately be between 64 and 69 million.
Vehicles Impacted by the Takata Airbag Recall
There are millions of airbag recalls worldwide, due to reported deaths from this defect. Recent statistics include 24 million vehicles containing 28 million potentially lethal inflators in the United States alone. According to the NHTSA, to date, less than 8 million airbags have been properly recalled.
The following types of vehicles all contain a Takata airbag. The list, as follows:
Confirm that your vehicle is impacted by checking its VIN number into safercar.gov. You can use the recall look-up tool to confirm whether or not your airbag inflators need replacing. If you own a vehicle affected by the Takata airbag issue, you may need to consult with a lawyer. Our qualified legal team at Pittman, Dutton, & Hellums offers a free initial consultation.
Filing Your Takata Airbag Lawsuit
Product manufacturers or insurance companies do handle accident claims. However, their intents and purposes may be directly opposite of what you and your family need. Many times, insurance companies or product manufacturers are simply attempting to handle claims quickly and at no cost to themselves. That is why it is often a good idea to also consult with a lawyer.
Never accept an initial offer or settlement without first getting solid information from a qualified legal representative. Insurance companies and auto manufacturers will initially try to ‘lowball’ an offer. They are in business to protect their business; not your rights.
If you or a loved one own a vehicle with a Takata airbag and has been impacted by this, reach our to our highly qualified legal team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums. We’re here to help you get what you and your family deserve. Call (205) 322-8880 or fill out the contact form on this page.
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