Earlier this month, Takata Corp., the Japanese airbag manufacturer, announced that it would expand recalls for defective airbag inflators to 40 million.
Takata initiated the first phase of the expansion on Monday by filing reports with U.S. auto safety regulators declaring nearly 14 million air bag inflators defective.
The use of ammonium nitrate is what makes these inflators defective. Ammonium nitrate can cause the air bag to deploy with such violent force that the inflator breaks apart, shooting metal shrapnel into the vehicle. Humid conditions exacerbate this defect. Over time, humid conditions alter the composition of ammonium nitrate and increase the likelihood of an explosion.
Meanwhile, Hawaii recently became the first state to file a lawsuit against Takata. In its complaint, Hawaii accuses Takata and Honda Motor Co. of a cover-up, stating that Takata knew, and Honda should have known of the dangers presented by the ammonium nitrate in the inflators. The lawsuit seeks a $10,000 penalty for every vehicle that has been affected, as well as compensation for consumers who have sustained losses.
Defective Takata airbags have resulted in more than a dozen deaths, most of which have been in the United States. Among those who have died as a result of these defective airbags is Huma Hanif, a seventeen year-old resident of Fort Bend County who passed away on March 31, 2016 after metal fragments from the airbag in her vehicle struck her in the neck.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a defective airbag, please contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by calling at 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884 for a confidential consultation.