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Takata Airbag Recall: The Largest Auto Recall in US History

Dan Brian   |  April 19, 2018   |  

The Takata Airbag Recall is considered the largest auto safety recall in United States history. The recall involves more than 50 million airbags in cars, trucks, and SUVs of 19 different automakers.

Caused by a defective inflator, the airbags are exploding when deployed in a car accident, sending shrapnel flying across the cabin and seriously injuring drivers and passengers. There have even been 15 reported deaths in the US from this defect. 

What Steps Have Been Taken to Resolve This Issue?

Beginning in 2008, manufacturers issued letters informing car owners of the recall. They were urged to bring the vehicles to a local dealer to have them replaced. Up until recently, however, car owners were having trouble getting replacement airbags due to a supply shortage. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that the supply problems are over, and owners need to act.

There are still more than 26 million airbags that need to be replaced.

David Friedman, the Consumer Union policy director, said the recall is not something car owners can ignore. 

Which Vehicles Are Affected by the Takata Recall?

The following vehicle brands are impacted by the Takata Airbag recall:

For a more information regarding Takada Airbag Recalls, visit SafeCar.Gov. You can also use the NHTSA’s VIN look-up tool to find out if your vehicle is involved in the airbag recall.

Why Are Takata Airbags Being Recalled?

The issue isn’t the airbags themselves, but with their inflation devices.

Airbags are a major automotive safety feature that the Department of Transportation estimates has saved over an estimated 44,000 lives to date. As Takata explains, airbag restraint systems have four major components: collision sensors, an ignitor, an inflator, and the airbag cushion. During an accident, sensors send a signal that triggers the ignitor, which then initiates the inflator. From there, the airbag cushion is deployed and inflates. This entire process occurs in milliseconds.

Takata inflators use the volatile chemical, ammonium nitrate to inflate the airbag. Because of this, the airbag can explode in a crash, firing metal shrapnel that cuts drivers and passengers.

Moisture, humidity, and other factors can break down the ammonium nitrate, making it unstable. When that happens, the propellant burns too rapidly and creates excessive pressure in the inflator cartridge. This is what is being identified as the cause of the explosion.

Incredibly, automakers are still selling vehicles with defective Takata airbags. These vehicles will need to be recalled and repaired.

Have Lawsuits Been Filed Against Takata For These Airbag Defects?

Takata did not make public safety a priority when it designed, manufactured, and sold faulty airbag inflators. They also withheld knowledge of airbag defects from the public for more than a decade when more prompt action likely would have saved lives and prevented injuries.

Those who suffered injuries from exploding Takata airbags, as well as the family members of those who died from airbag shrapnel, are now filing lawsuits against Takata and automakers.

Regardless of how the accident happened, Takata is potentially liable for burns, bruises, or lacerations caused by airbag shrapnel.

How Do I Hold Takata Accountable For Injuries?

If you or a loved one sustained injuries due to Takata airbag defects, then you may be able to file an injury claim to recover compensation. Additionally, you may also have legal options if your vehicle contains these defective airbags. The product liability attorneys at Riddle & Brantley can advise you of your rights and may be able to help you join the ongoing Takata multi-district litigation.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. This means that you do not owe us any attorney fees unless we successfully recover compensation for you or your loved one. These lawsuits are time-sensitive, so it is crucial that you reach out to us as soon as possible to determine if you are owed money.