This past week, the Takata airbag recall became the largest in American history with close to 36 million Takata-equipped vehicles now recalled since 2008. Several days ago, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan recalled 11.5 million additional Takata-equipped vehicles after discovering that their airbag inflators may have been improperly sealed, allowing moisture to seep into their propellants. Subsequently, after sustained year-long pressure from federal regulators and daily $14,000 fines ultimately totaling $1.2 million, Takata finally acknowledged that airbag inflators they manufactured were defectively designed and dangerous to the public. In turn, they have agreed to a nationwide recall of Takata airbags used in vehicles manufactured by Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Honda, General Motors, Ford, Daimler Trucks, Chrysler and BMW. To date, six people have been killed and over 100 injured by exploding Takata airbags. Police officers responding to the scenes of exploding Takata airbags have reported that victims often appear to have been stabbed or shot due to the shrapnel these exploding airbags project at them.
The scope of the recall has been further expanded beyond the warmer and more humid areas of the country, where Takata initially sought to contain it, and has been extended nationally. A criminal investigation of the airbag manufacturer is also ongoing with a federal grand jury having subpoenaed documents pertaining to the airbag defect from the company.
While meticulously monitoring these developments, Pope McGlamry has continued to operate at the forefront of the Takata litigation which has been consolidated in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) before the Honorable Judge Federico Moreno of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida for the handling of pretrial matters and evidence-gathering. As litigation proceedings in the MDL have progressed, NHTSA has, in an unprecedented move, ordered Takata to make at least ten percent of the recalled airbags available for testing by injured plaintiffs. Members of the public can use their VIN numbers to find out whether their vehicles are subject to the Takata recall by visiting www.safercar.gov.
Additionally, the Center for Auto Safety, an automobile consumer protection group with forty-five years of experience advocating on behalf of vehicle owners, has established a website detailing the Takata recall and the company’s encounters with regulatory authorities. The website is a great resource with which to learn more about the recall and its scope and can be visited at www.autosafety.org.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a malfunctioning airbag, please contact Pope McGlamry at 877.285.7656 or submit a case evaluation online at www.popemcglamry.com to schedule a complimentary legal consultation. For continued up-to-date information and news regarding malfunctioning airbags, like the Pope McGlamry page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @PopeMcGlamry, or visit our website at www.popemcglamry.com.