Vehicles made by 19 different automakers have been recalled to replace frontal airbags on the driver’s side, passenger’s side, or both, in what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” The most recent recall is the third out of five, and it expanded an already large-scale recall by an additional 3.3 million airbag inflators.
At the heart of the problem is the airbag’s inflator, a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers, which in some cases ignite with explosive force. If the inflator housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin – a potentially disastrous outcome from a supposedly life-saving device.
NHTSA has determined the root cause of the problem: airbags that use ammonium nitrate-based propellant without a chemical drying agent. As postulated early on, environmental moisture, high temperatures, and age as associated with the defect can improperly inflate the airbags and even send shrapnel into the cars’ occupants. To date, there have been 15 deaths in the United States and over 300 injuries worldwide due to this problem.
Serious injuries from the metal shards of the airbag propelling into drivers or passengers can include:
Severe lacerations to the head, neck, face, or chest
Embedding of metal shards in the body
Broken teeth from metal fragments flying into the mouth
Broken jaw or facial bones from metal fragments
Loss of eyesight from metal fragments flying into eyes
Loss of speech due to metal fragments flying into vocal cords
Severe blood loss from damage caused by metal fragments
Death – over 23 deaths have occurred worldwide due to Takata airbags to date
Takata airbag cases involve a motor vehicle accident in a vehicle with a defective Takata airbag, where the airbags deployed and released metal shards upon deployment. Release of the metal shards causes serious injuries to those in the vehicle at the time of airbag deployment.
As of January 9, 2019, Toyota has recalled another 1.3 million U.S. vehicles. This recall includes cars from model years 2010 to 2015. Ford has recently announced plans to recall 1 million vehicles. In 2018, Honda, Acura, and General Motors have issued airbag recalls as well.
If you or a loved one have experienced injury or death due to a defective Takata airbag, you may be eligible to file a claim. Attorneys at Kenneth S. Nugent P.C. are currently investigating claims and are here to help you. We are currently accepting cases. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. 770-820-0711-CALL-KEN.