Lawyer Brian Mahany discusses how to file a successful airbag injury claim and looks at steps injured victims must take to be fully compensated for their injuries.
Can I Sue for Injuries Caused by a Defective Airbag?
Airbags have saved countless lives. As a former police officer and prosecutor, I have observed first hand horrific accidents where the drivers and passengers were able to walk away with just scratches. What saved them? Seatbelts and airbags! But what happens when the airbag is defective?
Tens of millions of Americans are driving around in vehicles containing defective airbags manufactured by a company called Takata. Airbags that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say act more like a hand grenade.
Hi, I am attorney Brian Mahany and over the next few minutes I will explain what you need to know about Takata airbags and what to do if you are injured because of a defective airbag.
Takata was the largest supplier of airbags in the world. They became the largest manufacturer because their products were cheaper than airbags made by their competitors.
Their airbags were cheaper because they used ammonium nitrate as a propellant. The propellant is what causes an airbag to quickly inflate in the microseconds immediately after an accident.
Unfortunately, ammonium nitrate isn’t very stable. It’s also very powerful and is often used by bomb makers. In high heat and humidity, ammonium nitrate can quickly degrade. Instead of becoming less explosive, it becomes even more powerful. The metal canister that holds the airbag can then become a grenade.
Because airbags are in steering wheels and front dashboards, the shrapnel from the canister can shred not only the airbag but the head and face of people riding in the front of the car.
Evidence suggests that Takata knew its airbags were defective in the early 2000’s. Instead of alerting car dealers, auto makers, regulators and motorists, they kept quiet.
By 2008, Honda knew something was wrong and began recalling cars with Takata airbags. You would think that all the automakers would immediately stop using Takata airbags. They didn’t. In 2017, VW was still using them! Today between 65 million and 70 million cars are affected. And the recall of cars with Takata airbags is the largest recall in US automotive history.
Takata folded in 2017. It owes the U.S. government alone almost a billion dollars with many more claims pending. The company itself says the costs of the recall could hit $24 billion. The company has about $1.6 billion to pay its creditors.
Experts believe that 20 people were killed by Takata airbags and scores more suffering from horrific injuries. [In April, 2019 the National Highway Transportation Administration began an investigation of TRW airbags. Possibly 8 people have died from airbag malfunctions in those cars. There are an estimated 12.3 million vehicles affected.]
If you were injured by a defective airbag, you have important rights. Obviously, you can pursue the driver at fault in the crash but sometimes that driver was you or sometimes the driver has no insurance. Sometimes a minor little fender bender caused the airbag to explode and cause the injuries.
Can you sue Takata? Yes, but they are bankrupt and no longer in business. We believe that the car companies are also at fault. And that may be your best source of recovery.
Suing a car company isn’t easy. They have been known to hide evidence and will deny knowing that the airbags they used were defective. We know better.
If you are in an accident and hurt because of defective airbag, call us right away. You need lawyers not afraid of big corporations and lawyers that can prosecute what is called a products liability case. These are not cases for the local personal injury or PI lawyer.
There is another important step to remember if you are injured by a defective airbag. Take all steps to secure both the vehicle and the defective airbag. The car companies would like nothing more than to get their hands on the airbag but that is your best evidence. Secure the vehicle until you speak with us. The couple bucks to tow the car could be worth millions if your airbag injury was severe and a defective airbag was the cause.
For more information, please see contact us at the number on your screen. Visit the website URL displayed for our Airbag Injury Claim Center.
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*Please also visit our Takata Airbag Injury legal resources page.