You may be entitled to compensation after you or a loved one are injured by a defective product
An estimated 32 million vehicles have been recalled in the U.S. after faulty airbags manufactured by Takata Corp. have been linked to eight deaths and more than 130 injuries. Takata admitted a flawed manufacturing process and the use of ammonium nitrate propellants have contributed to defects in airbags used by more than 11 automakers. Drivers can use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s VIN look-up tool to determine whether their vehicle has been affected by the recall.
The casualties of the defective airbags include Los Angeles resident Hai Ming Xu, who was killed when the airbag in his 2002 Acura TL deployed, exploding metallic portions of the airbag inflater into his face. The damage was so extensive, police initially thought Xu had been shot. In another case, the airbag in Kristy Williams’ 2001 Honda Civic deployed while she was stopped at a red light, launching metal projectiles into her neck. Williams’ carotid artery was severed, and she has subsequently suffered several strokes and traumatic brain damage.
This horrific loss of life is made especially more problematic by the allegations that Takata knew about the threat their devices posed. A Former Takata engineer, Mark Lillie, claims to have warned Takata as early as 1999 about the dangers of using ammonium nitrate, which can cause the airbag propellant device to break apart and launch metal fragments into the driver and passengers. “I literally said if we go forward with this, someone will be killed,” Mark Lillie commented in an interview with Reuters. He subsequently quit the company. The New York Times also reports that Takata knew about potential safety problems, at least as early as 2004, and even conducted secret tests to confirm the issues. Instead of publicly acknowledging the problem and alerting safety authorities, The Times alleges Takata buried the evidence.
The recall, and the troubling circumstances surrounding it, has caused panic among consumers who expect airbags to keep them safe, not actively cause them harm. In the U.S., product manufacturers are responsible for their equipment failures, and affected customers have the right to be compensated for their injuries. An experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney can help determine whether a manufacturer was at fault, your chances of success at court, and what type of compensation you might be owed. Some typical mechanical failures that can occur on automobiles include brake failures, tire blowouts, steering issues, and suspension deficiencies. Unfortunately, given the large scale of the current recall, it appears air bags can be added to this list. While Takata has apologized for the malfunctions, it is too little too late for the victims. Both Williams and Xu’s family have filed suit, seeking compensation for the extensive injuries and pain and suffering they have endured.
If you or a loved one has been injured, and you suspect a faulty automobile may be to blame, you should discuss your case as soon as possible with an experienced Baltimore accident attorney. Our team of accident attorneys at Mallon & McCool, LLC have more than 15 years of experience protecting consumers from faulty products, and we’ll help you identify all of your legal options. Contact our Baltimore office at (410) 727-7887, toll free at (800) 918-8872 or contact us online for a free consultation.