Japanese automotive supplier Takata has recently recalled another 10 million front air bag inflators installed in automobiles manufactured by various companies because of the danger the inflators cause. The recall is part of a 2015 settlement with U.S. safety regulators after there were hundreds of people were injured and multiple fatalities worldwide caused by the defective product.
Why the Recall?
Takata, the Japanese automotive supplier, made a corporate decision to use ammonium nitrate as the chemical inflator in their airbag systems. However, ammonium nitrate can deteriorate and become unstable when exposed to heat and humidity. As a result, when these air bags deploy, there can be “inconsistent ballistic consequences” – meaning there can be areas of the blast field that are much greater in force than other areas – and when an area of the blast force exceeds the design strength of the airbag system’s metal canister, the canister will catastrophically fail or fracture sending pieces of metal shrapnel hurling through the airbag and into the interior of the vehicle.
This design flaw – the use of ammonium nitrate – has injured hundreds of people around the world and has killed at least 25 people. Takata agreed to a settlement with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2015 to recall vehicles with the faulty airbag installed. The recall affects approximately 100 million airbag systems worldwide contained in vehicles manufactured by a variety of automakers, including Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Subaru, Ford, and Toyota.
The first recall in the saga occurred in 2001. Takata has since filed for bankruptcy protection because of the backlash against their defective products and the cost of claims against it to compensate victims and replace the defective air bag systems.
What is it that makes a product defective, exactly? There are a number of factors that can result in a product being considered defective. The categories of a product defect fall into one of several categories, including a defect in design, a defect in manufacturing, or a defect in marketing which renders the product in a defective condition and unreasonably dangerous.
Product defects can exist in nearly every product including but not limited to automobiles and their equipment, such as tires, the structural frame of the vehicle that can render the vehicle uncrashworthy, gas tanks, restraint systems, and in Takata’s case, air bag systems.
All too often these issues arise when corporations in any industry prioritize profit over safety. Attorneys who represent injured people and families in defective product cases, specifically defective product attorneys, help victims of these dangerous products fight for justice and compensation.
While the Japanese company and its automaking partners are working to recall the cars that contain these faulty inflators, many people have already felt the repercussions – and some have even lost their lives – due to the company’s decisions.
Now, cars in warmer regions such as the southern United States, where the ammonium nitrate airbags are more likely to be exposed to hot and humid conditions, are being prioritized first within the recall. But some of the companies with cars affected by the recall – including General Motors, Ford, and Mazda – are fighting the recall, arguing that their products are safe.
Regardless, Takata and the majority of its automotive partners are working to recall the vehicles and replace the air bag systems, hoping to put an end to the danger the defective products pose.
Get in Touch with a Defective Product Attorney
At The Callahan Law Firm, we strive to bring justice and compensation to anyone who has suffered the consequences of a defective product. Manufacturers and companies who put profit before safety must be brought to justice and held accountable for the harm caused if they put a defective product into the stream of commerce. Product liability cases are complex, expensive and are sure to meet with a strenuous defense by the company lawyers. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, it is critical that you have an experience legal team on your side who can help. Get in touch with us today at The Callahan Law Firm if you believe you may have a case against a company for a defective product.