Since the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration began recording crash statistics, 264 Americans have passed away as a direct cause of defective airbags. For reasons unknown, 1997 was the worst year for fatal air bag accidents with 53 casualties, 31 of which were children. However, these are only the reported events. Many additional deaths and disabling injuries have been linked to defective airbags through litigation.
In addition, recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration updated its list of vehicles that contain airbags that can kill drivers or passengers when the defective airbags are released. The number of vehicles with immediate risk of these dangerous airbags stands at an astounding 7.8 million. These 7.8 million vehicles have Takata airbags that may shoot metal when airbags are inflated, release with too much force, or not release at all. Four people have already died from this severe issue. Medical professionals initially thought one woman’s death was a stabbing.
Joe Lyon is a highly rated Ohio airbag recall lawyer who has successfully represented individuals throughout the United States in multiple complex product liability cases. These cases are generally filed in Federal Court, though State Court options may be available in certain cases.
If you or a family member have been injured by a recalled airbag device and need an Ohio airbag recall lawyer, call our offices today for a no cost consultation at (800) 513-2403 to learn more about your legal rights
Air bags unquestionably have saved lives. However, airbags that are not functioning properly can not only provide a false sense of security but can contribute to and even be the primary cause of an injury or death. Airbags can be recalled to due any of the following defective parts:
An airbag lawsuit is based in product liability law that addresses the design and manufacturing of the product. An airbag lawsuit can also result from negligence on the part of the producer to crash test on a range of dummies and a failure to test the airbag for people of all body types.
On October 16th, 2014, Honda Motor Company opened its records to a third party investigation firm after allegations that the company was covering up its information regarding the true numbers of deaths and injuries associated with the Takata airbag recall incident. The Center for Auto Safety is responsible for the allegations and has based them on reports by similar automakers who have identified many more cases. GM and Toyota have reported around 1,700 incidents each, whereas Honda has only reported 28. Honda’s defense is that under the TREAD Act, it is only required to report written, not verbal, complaints. However, the Center for Auto Safety is arguing that there are still written statements which have not been cited. Law360 reports.
On October 20th, 2014, the NHTSA issued another urgent message that the drivers of the vehicles with the recalled Takata airbags should bring in their cars immediately. Car owners in regions with high humidity should especially take caution, as the possibility of explosion is all the more likely. ABC World News called this warning by the NHTSA “rare,” but due to the number of deaths that have occurred and the difficulty in tracking the owners of these older vehicles down, the organization felt it was necessary.
On October 29th, 2014, consumers began to take legal action regarding the faulty airbags. Class action suits were filed in both Florida and California. The attorney for the Florida plaintiffs alluded to the trials ending up in Florida, since so many cases are suspected to be filed there; the state is expecting a large influx of these lawsuits against Takata because the humidity in this region (including Puerto Rico) makes the defective airbags explode more frequently. The Florida judge set December 8th for a “hearing on the motion of expedited discovery”; the urgency stems from the plaintiff’s argument that these airbags may lead to further deaths if not handled properly and promptly. Law360 reports.
On October 30th, 2014, a Hawaiian Honda driver filed a potential class action in Los Angeles federal court against Takata Corporation and Honda Motor Company. Furthermore, the NHTSA has ordered Takata to turnover several of their documents on airbags, including correspondence between Takata and motor companies regarding the defective products. Critics argue that the NHTSA should have taken such action in July at the latest. The NHTSA Deputy Administrator said they want Takata to release documents and answer questions under oath regarding the discrepancies involved in their ongoing defective airbags.
On November 7th, 2014, Californians hit Takata Corporation with yet another class action. The suit is brought against the company, alleging that it destroyed evidence, including videos and computer backups, that showed their airbag defects. There are eight named plaintiffs from California, New Jersey, Ohio, New York, Virginia, and Washington. The New York Times reported that former employees alluded to lab technicians being told by the company to destroy testing data that “showed cracks in the steel casings that house their airbag inflators.” Law360 reports.
On November 17th, 2014, a Florida family filed a lawsuit against Honda Motor Company and Takata, Inc. for issuing their recall of explosive air bags much too late. According to Law 360, Hien Thi Tran died in late September due to an accident in which the air bag deployed and sent sharp shrapnel all throughout her body. The wounds were so bad that medical personnel initially thought she had been stabbed and police initially looked into her death as a homicide. This suit is coupled with numerous others that are springing up all over the country.
In Spring of 2014, 2005-2006 GM Cobalts and 2003-2005 GM Ions were recalled due to an ignition switch issue related to failed airbag deployments. The NHTSA has received much ridicule over the fact that such vehicles were not recalled much sooner. The organization attempted to defend itself by arguing that there were more vehicles with consumer injury-crash complaints than these two models. However, a recent analysis has found no statistically significant difference between the crash complaints filed regarding the Cobalt or Ion and any other vehicles. The organization then went on to say that GM did not provide them with sufficient information, when in reality, it appears that the NHTSA simply did not choose to run the required analyses. For more information, visit Safety Research & Strategies, Inc.’s website.
Chrysler issued a recall on Dodge 2003-2004 (NHSTA ID 13V040) due to inadvertent air bag deployment. This is a very serious problem that can lead to severe injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia and death especially with children and the elderly. This is not Chrysler’s first issue with inadvertent air bags. Last fall Chrysler recalled 744,822 Jeeps due to this same problem. See Chrysler Document on Inadvertent Airbag deployment.
Honda is recalling certain model year 2003 and 2004 Odyssey and model year 2003 Acura MDX vehicles. Due to electrical noise, a component in the air bag control module may fail causing the front air bags, side curtain air bags, and/or seatbelt pretensioners to deploy inadvertently while the vehicle is being operate.
Honda will notify owners, and dealers will install a noise suppressor unit, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on, or about, October 28, 2013. Owners may contact Honda at 1-800-999-1009. Honda’s recall numbers are JC2 (Honda Odyssey) and JC3 (Acura MDX).
Toyota is recalling certain model year 2012-2013 Avalon, Avalon HV, Venza, Camry, and Camry HV vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the drain hose for the air conditioning condenser may become clogged causing water to accumulate at the bottom of the air conditioning condenser unit housing. The accumulated water may then leak through a seam in the housing onto the air bag control module potentially resulting in a short circuit of the module.
A short circuit may cause the air bags to become disabled or inadvertently deploy. An inadvertent airbag deployment can increase the risk of injury or the possibility of a crash. An inoperative airbag can increase the risk of injury in a severe crash. The power steering assist could also become inoperable resulting in increased steering effort and can increase the risk of a crash at low speeds.
Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will seal the air conditioning condenser unit housing and install a protective cover on the airbag control module, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a faulty airbag, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.