The family of a Texas teenager who lost her life when the airbag in her Honda Civic erupted and killed her during a minor traffic accident, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the maker of the airbag, Takata. According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), Takata airbags have killed at least 10 people in the United States so far, this being the most recent death.
These deaths have prompted Takata to admit that there is a problem with its airbags and to recall nearly 34 million autos in the United States, involving 11 different auto manufacturers and many parts suppliers across the nation.
It is suspected that the danger from Takata airbags is caused by moisture and humidity that seeps into the airbag housing and causes the chemical propellant used to inflate the airbag to become unstable and deploy with excessive force spraying metal shrapnel into the faces of the vehicle’s occupants.
The instability of the propellant in the Takata airbags can also cause the airbags to deploy during minor car accidents when, in most cases, the airbag is not necessary. This seems to have been the case in this latest Takata airbag death.
The Texas teenager was killed by shrapnel from the exploding airbag that hit her throat, killing her instantly. The accident was minor and one that, under normal circumstance, she should have been able to walk away from.
There is evidence that Takata executives knew about the problems with their airbag as early as 2004, four years before the company first admitted to issues with its airbags, which in turn lead to the first ever recall over ruptured Takata airbags.
The evidence suggests that the company discounted the results of secret lab tests that had been ordered by company’s headquarters. These tests found that the airbags’ steel inflators could crack and cause an explosion that would send shards of metal flying through the vehicle.
It is also alleged that, instead of alerting federal regulators about the danger, Takata executive ordered the lab techs to delete the data and dispose of any evidence. In 2015, the company formally admitted to the NHTSA that it had known about the problems with its airbags but failed to issue a timely recall.
You should check to see if your vehicle and/or the vehicle belonging to your loved one are equipped with Takata airbags by visiting Safercars.gov and entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
If your loved one’s vehicle was equipped with Takata airbags and he or she was killed when the airbag exploded during an accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Takata.
If your loved one loses his or her life as a result of someone’s negligence, carelessness or wrongdoing, you have a right to hold the wrongdoer accountable by filing a wrongful death claim and pursuing damages.
A wrongful death claim is essentially a personal injury claim brought by the family of the deceased on his or her behalf, obviously because they can’t do so themselves. The same things that would give rise to a personal injury claim had the decedent survived, are the same things that give rise to a wrongful death claim.
The main purpose of a wrongful death claim is to shift the cost associated with the death of your loved one from you and your family to the person or entity who is responsible for your loved one’s death.
If you have lost a loved one due to fatal injuries caused by a Takata airbag, you may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- The value of lost household services
- The loss of anticipated financial support
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The decedent’s final medical and hospital bills
- Any related repair bills, such as car repairs.
- Lost future income
- The loss of love of community affection, attention, guidance and moral support
Many lawsuits have already been filed against Takata because its defective airbags, but the outcomes of these cases have been kept confidential. However, it has been reported that in a case filed on behalf of a woman who was killed when the airbags in her Honda Accord exploded during a minor accident, Takata settled for $3 million.
Every case is different and the amount of compensation you may receive will vary depending on a number of different factors including your relationship to the deceased. To find out if you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Takata, contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
Instead of saving lives as they are supposed to, Takata airbags are killing people. If your loved one was killed by one of Takata’s defective airbags, you may be entitled to seek justice and compensation for your loss.
Our experienced and knowledgeable New Jersey wrongful death lawyers are ready to assist you with a no-cost, no-obligation review of your case. The time you have to file a claim against Takata may be limited, so contact us now.