Airbag Lawsuit Filed Against Takata, Honda

January 7, 2015 | J. Price McNamara
Airbag Lawsuit Filed Against Takata, Honda

Most people expect that their airbag could deploy at some point in their lifetime. But most people do not anticipate that sharp metal pieces will also deploy at the same time as the airbag. However, this is exactly what happened to customers with a particular type of airbag. In recent news a significant products liability action was filed alleging serious personal injuries related to a recalled Takata airbag. The case is important because it is believed to be the first personal injury federal action involving shrapnel. According to court documents, in 2012, the plaintiff sustained injuries when her 2001 Honda Civic was rear-ended. Upon impact, the airbag in her car, made by Takata, exploded, shooting multiple pieces of sharp, metal shrapnel into her upper body. As a result, she was hospitalized, had to undergo multiple surgeries and suffered a tremendous amount of pain. The plaintiff alleges that she now lives with the emotional and psychological trauma from the crash, as well as permanent scarring in multiple areas of her chest and upper torso. However, the plaintiff learned one year after her accident, that her car had been recalled for its airbag system. Related reports suggest that the Defendants knew of the dangerous airbags long before the product recall. Over 8 million vehicles were recalled in the United States for the airbag issue, with Honda vehicles being the highest recalled. In a November 2014, Senate hearing, Takata executives admitted that they still use the same propellant in its airbag inflators. The problem with this propellant is that it is highly sensitive to moisture and even the smallest temperature changes. Because of its properties, it can also break down over time. Takata admitted that it uses the propellant because it is less expensive. The lawsuit claims that the defendant would not have suffers such injuries from an airbag under normal circumstances. The suit also alleges that “the front airbag system was unreasonably dangerous and defective, the system was designed, manufactured and sold with an excessively energetic inflator in the driver's frontal airbag system, that the airbag deployed with dangerously excessive explosive force expelling shrapnel during air bag deployment, and that the vehicle was unfit for its ordinary purpose of providing safe transportation.” The defendant admits that her injuries were not fatal, but argues that she has suffered extreme trauma, suffers from permanent scarring and has medical bills and other expenses from the accident. The lawsuit alleges general negligence, gross negligence, reckless conduct and breach of warranty against the defendants Takata Corporation, TK Holdings, Inc., Takata, Inc., Highland Industries, Inc., Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Honda R & D Co. Ltd., American Honda Motor Co. and Honda of America MFG, Inc. The complaint also alleges that design and testing all the way through distribution and sale, resulted in a defective and unreasonably dangerous automobile and automobile airbag system that was unable to reasonably protect the driver in the case of an accident.

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J. Price McNamara


Losing my own brother, then my father and sister after long, disabling illnesses just a few months apart drove a career change for me. Before that experience, I never truly understood the place you’re in. I never understood the dramatic impact that receiving (or not receiving) the disability and life insurance benefits you paid for and counted on can have on your life especially when you need to focus on family and healing. What I experienced with my own family now drives the way I view my clients and my work, and I will never forget it!

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