Airbags are safety features in cars that we rely on to save our lives in the event of an unexpected accident. No one expects the devices that are supposed to help to cause even more injury. However, a recent influx of injuries and deaths has resulted from defective airbags. If you have been injured due to a malfunctioning airbag, or sustained an injury caused by someone else, call the experienced Houston personal injury attorneys with The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500 to find out how they can help you recover.
On March 31, 2016, a 17-year-old was killed in Fort Bend County after a metal shard struck her in the neck. The metal shard was propelled from inside the Takata airbag in her 2002 Honda civic, which deployed when she rear-ended another car. This is the 10th death in the United States linked to defective Takata airbags, and the second Takata airbag death in the Houston area.
Of the ten deaths linked to Takata airbags, nine occurred in Honda vehicles. The defective airbags have also resulted in hundreds of injuries. In response to the most recent death, Honda issued a statement that the owner of the Honda civic had been sent multiple recall notices, but repairs were never made. The family of the teenager that was killed at the end of March stated that they never received any recall notices. The family filed a product liability lawsuit against the American branch of Takata along with several other defendants.
Defective Takata Airbags
The defect in the Takata airbag occurs in the inflator, which is a metal cartridge that is loaded with propellant wafers. In some cases the propellant ignites too fast causing the inflator to rupture, shooting metal shrapnel out at passengers with an explosive force. The use of ammonium nitrate as the main propellant is believed to be the fundamental source of the problem because the cartridges are unable to absorb moisture leading them to inflate prematurely and explode. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Takata is the only airbag manufacturer that uses ammonium nitrate in its inflators.
The NHTSA determined that the two biggest risk factors are vehicles with prolonged exposure to high levels of humidity and heat and the age of the vehicle. The NHTSA ordered Takata to stop using ammonium nitrate for new orders, but the manufacturer has until the end of 2018 to prove that the compound is safe in inflators that remain on the road. To date, over 28.8 million airbag inflators have been recalled, involving 14 different automakers. According to the NHTSA, 7,961,258 vehicles have been repaired. You can find out if your vehicle has been recalled by visiting the NHTSA’s website.
Consult an Experienced Houston Product Liability Attorney
Airbags are designed to help save lives and reduce injuries, but a manufacturing or design defect could result in the product becoming unreasonably dangerous. If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective Takata airbag, contact the Houston product liability lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. right away to discuss your legal options. The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has been at the forefront of product liability cases in Texas and has helped shape the law of crashworthiness, including the landmark case of Turner v. General Motors. We have handled countless product liability cases and we know the evidence necessary to build a strong case on your behalf. We will fight to obtain the maximum possible compensation for your injuries caused by a defective product.
Contact us at (281) 283-8500 to learn what our team of dedicated and skilled Houston defective product lawyers can do for you. We offer a free initial consultation and charge no fees unless we obtain compensation for you.