LEGAL ACTION UPDATE
June 1, 2016: A new report says at least four auto manufacturers (Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen and Mitsubishi) are continuing to use defective Takata airbags.
Takata Airbag Recall
Takata, a major automobile parts supplier, has recalled the airbags in about 7.8 million vehicles. See below for a list of the current makes and models which may contain these dangerous airbags. The reason for the Takata airbag recall is that the propellant used can deteriorate over time due to environmental factors (especially in high humid areas such as Florida). This can lead to an over-aggressive combustion upon the airbag deploying. When this occurs, metal shards of shrapnel can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin. This can cause severe injuries, and possibly death, to the front seat occupants. There have already been at least 11 fatalities and more than one hundred injuries linked to these faulty Takata airbags.
The Ruth Law Team wants to help you have a better understanding of what has happened and what you can do now to protect yourself and your family. Here’s a brief history of some of the main points of this ongoing problem:
1988 – Takata (founded in 1933) begins manufacturing air bags.
1990s – Research and development takes place at Takata to make a smaller model with fewer toxic fumes when deployed.
1998 – Honda begins installing the newly designed Takata air bags. This new design uses a different, highly explosive propellant and is encased in a small metal canister.
2001 – The first Takata airbag recall is issued by Isuzu due to an incident involving an exploding air bag canister and resulting damage.
2004 – First reported explosion in a Honda. A driver in Alabama is injured when he is struck by metal fragments from an exploding air bag in his 2002 year model Honda. Both Takata and Honda make statements that the incident was “an anomaly” and does not warrant further investigation or recall.
2005 – Jacksonville, FL – A driver side airbag inflates as the result of an accident involving a 2005 Honda Civic. The inflator “ruptured and propelled a one-inch piece of shrapnel into the driver’s right eye” along with causing numerous other injuries to the driver’s face, according to a report written by the injured party’s attorney.
2007 – Three additional incidents of ruptured air bag canisters are reported to Honda. Confidential claims are settled with each the injured parties by Honda for undisclosed amounts.
2008 – Honda issues its first limited recall due to possibly defective driver side airbag inflators in 4000 cars including certain 2001 models.
April, 2009 – Orlando, FL – Jennifer Girffin is injured but manages to survive when a metal canister in her 2008 Honda Civic explodes upon impact as the result of a very minor traffic accident. A piece of metal shrapnel was propelled into her neck. Troopers on the scene found her with “blood gushing from her neck.”
May 27, 2009 – Oklahoma – Only days after having graduated from high school, Ashley Parham is killed when the 2001 Honda Accord she was driving is in a very minor fender bender in the school parking lot where she was picking her brother up from football practice. The 18-year-old all-state cheerleader bled to death when a piece of debris from the deployed air bag canister severed her carotid artery. Her car was not included in the 2008 Takata airbag recall.
July, 2009 – Honda expands its recall significantly to more than half a million cars worldwide, including the model that Ashley Parham was driving.
August, 2009 – The NHSTA questions why Honda’s initial Takata airbag recall was so limited.
November, 2009 – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) questions both Takata and the automakers using the manufacturer’s parts as to whether they responded quickly enough. The NHTSA officially opens an inquiry into the matter.
December 24, 2009 – Virginia – While driving in the family’s Honda Accord, Gurjie Rathore (33) is the second documented US fatality due to a ruptured air bag canister when she bleeds to death in front of her 3 children as the result of being struck by a mail truck.
April, 2010 – Morrow, GA – Kristy Williams, age 24, was sitting in her 2001 Honda Civic when with no apparent cause, her air bag deployed and the canister shredded. Her neck was struck by a piece of metal and her carotid artery severed. She managed to survive by staunching the flow of blood with two fingers but has endured strokes and seizures as a result of the injury.
May, 2010 – The NHTSA closes the inquiry stating they are satisfied with the responses received.
April 11, 2013 – The big news hits: Automakers issue a recall due to possible violent passenger side airbag inflation with resulting metal shrapnel discharge. Toyota, Nissan, & Honda announce worldwide recall of passenger side devices manufactured by Takata and used in cars built between November of 2000 to March of 2004 and involving approximately 2,735,463 vehicles.
October 27, 2013 – The first class action lawsuit against Takata is filed by a south Florida law group representing 16 individuals and two car dealerships due to damages caused by the defective airbags.
September 4, 2014 – Los Angeles – This time the air bag explosion occurs in a 2002 Acura TL. The body of victim Devin Xu suffered “facial trauma due to foreign object inside air bag.”
June 11, 2014 – A Preliminary Evaluation to begin investigating complaints against Takata involving 6 injurious incidents due to air bag rupture of both driver and passenger airbags in Florida and Puerto Rico.
June, 2014 – California – A 2005 Honda Accord, which was not on the recall list at that time, is in a low-speed accident. The impact causes detonation of the driver air bag and the release of both metal and plastic shrapnel into the car.
October 2, 2014 – Orlando – Hien Thi Tran is involved in a fatal car accident and the air bag of her 2001 Honda Accord was detonated and discharged shrapnel.
November 14, 2014 – The NHSTA demands that Takata issue a worldwide recall of all possibly defective driver side airbags. Takata has refused to comply and maintain that the NHSTA has no such authority and recalls are the responsibility of the automakers.
December 11, 2014 – Additional recalls in Japan by Mazda and Nissan bring the total number of vehicles recalled in Japan to about 3.05 million and worldwide to more than 14 million vehicles. While air bag recalls over all involve a number of different automakers, Honda is responsible for the greatest number of recalls in the US with the current total at 5.4 million vehicles.
December 12, 2014 – Chrysler announced it is expanding its Takata airbag recall to include the passenger side air bags in an additional 208,783 vehicles.
December 18, 2104 – Ford expands its Takata airbag recall to include driver’s side airbags, adding an additional 450,00 cars to its list (all Mustangs and GTs) Mazda expands its recall to be nationwide. Chrysler expanded its recall to include an oversight in the NHTSA’s master list (added the 2006-2007 Charger) and additional states.
December 19, 2014 – Chrylser expands its recall again, this time to be nationwide. BMW is the last major car maker holding out from the NHTSA demand of a nationwide airbag recall.
December 24, 2014 – Takata announces its CEO will step down and cut pay for three top executives.
December 30, 2014 – BMW announces it is now recalling its affected vehicles nationwide.
January 20, 2015 – Takata “independent” review board created to investigate the defective airbags. Takata did not give a timeline for the panel’s report and recommendations.
June 1, 2016 – A new report suggests at least four automakers are continuing to sell 2016 and 2017 models with defective Takata airbags.
June 30, 2016 – The U.S. Government warns drivers of more than 300,000 recalled vehicles to immediately bring them in to the dealership for repair. New data states some 2001-2003 Honda and Acura models have as much of a 50% chance of an air bag inflator ruptor in a crash.
A June 2016 report states that four automakers — Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Volkwagen and Mitsubishi — are continuing to sell these defective airbags that must be recalled by 2018. Sadly, these manufacturers are not required to tell buyers about new model cars being equipped with the defective airbags.
The NHTSA currently has two resources to help you find out if your vehicle is one that has been affected by the air bag recall. You can go to this link with their site, input the VIN number of your vehicle, and find out the status:
If you prefer, you may call the following phone number:
The NHSTA Safety Hotline: 1-888-327-4236
Due to the advocacy of the legal community and the persistence of the media, both the automakers and Takata Corporation as well as the NHSTA are being compelled to take responsive action. While you may see advertisements from out-of-area law firms about this issue, you can be assured that our firm is highly qualified and experienced in this type of legal work.
The focus of The Ruth Law Team always has been and always will be fighting to Get Justice for those who have been injured through no fault of their own. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident that involved any injury from the detonation of an airbag, please call The Ruth Law Team and to speak with an attorney who will answer any questions and advise you of your rights. You may be entitled to a financial settlement. The call is free and we’re always available. 1-888-SteveRuth (1-888-783-8378)