According to Consumer Reports, It is currently estimated that 34 million U.S. vehicles involving 19 different auto manufacturers have been affected by Takata airbag defect recall -- an event that the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called "the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history."
The issue involves Takata airbag inflators and propellant devices that may deploy prematurely in an accident, shooting metal fragments into occupants of the vehicle. There have been 139 reported injuries linked to these faulty airbags and at least 11 deaths.
By law, manufacturers are required to report any defect to federal regulators within five business days of the defect's discovery. Some news reports have suggested that manufacturers were aware of the defect long before any recalls were issued starting in 2014.
Victims of car accidents often suffer unnecessary injuries as a result of defective airbag systems. Some of the problems may include airbags that:
- Deploy with excessive force and speed
- Carry inadequate warnings
- Are too big
- Deploy unnecessarily in low-speed accidents
- Malfunction because of electrical problems
- Fail to deploy properly because of faulty sensors
Passengers who most commonly suffer injuries from defective airbags are children and small-statured women. Defective airbags can cause blindness, severe head injuries, brain damage and even death.
Laws against selling defective airbags "knowingly and intentionally" make doing so a felony punishable by a fine of $10,000 and up to three years in jail. In these cases, people who have suffered injuries as a result of the installation of defective airbags may recover damages from dealers who installed them or even car manufacturers.
The NHTSA maintains a list of all recalled car makes and models on its website as well as a VIN look-up tool that consumers can use to determine whether or not their vehicle is involved in the worldwide recall.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, the experienced personal injury legal team at Roberts & Roberts is here to help with compassionate, aggressive representation. Please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.