Many drivers are familiar with Takata, the Japanese automobile parts manufacturer embroiled in a series of lawsuits over defective airbags. Several automakers whose vehicles came equipped with the airbags have also been targeted. Additional airbag injuries have focused attention on another manufacturer and other automobile companies.
According to Law.com, there are new lawsuits against airbag maker ZF-TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. The plaintiffs allege that a defective airbag control unit is causing airbags to fail during crashes. A circuit within these units is supposed to monitor crash signal sensors. But the circuits are not working properly due to electrical overstress, which causes the bags to not deploy.
Plaintiffs contend that ZF-TRW, Hyundai, and Kia knew about this problem as far back as 2011. The defendants are believed to have known about actual crashes in which the airbags failed. Although it knew about the defects, the lawsuits allege, ZF-TRW sold the airbags anyway. And the automakers kept selling vehicles with the defective bags.
These claims have brought renewed attention to the Takata lawsuits. At least 20 people have been killed, and many more seriously injured, by Takata airbag explosions. The company allegedly replaced a relatively safe chemical used to inflate bags with a cheaper, more volatile one. This was done, plaintiffs say, to cut costs and increase corporate profits. The more volatile chemical can become unstable over time, especially in warm and humid climates. This causes the airbags to explode upon impact or other activation.
These explosions have in some cases sprayed the driver and passengers with metal shrapnel. The resulting injuries resembled grisly knife and gunshot attacks. Some of the reported injuries are:
- Scrapes and bruises
- Blunt force trauma and organ damage
- Lacerations and burns
- Vision loss, blindness, and other eye injuries
- Damage to the vocal cords
- Injuries to the neck, spine, and brain
- Bone fractures, including in the ribs and sternum
A variety of different vehicles were discovered to have been equipped with these dangerously defective airbags. Ongoing recalls throughout the country have been set up to alert consumers. A government website has been established which lists affected vehicles. If you are concerned that your car may contain these airbags.
This website lists known safety recalls going back at least 15 years. Visitors can search this website using their car’s Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN. You should also contact your automobile dealership with any questions or concerns about possible recalls.
Those who have been injured by a defective airbag, made by Takata or another manufacturer, may be entitled to compensation. Damages which could be covered include:
- Medical bills – past, present, and future
- Pain, suffering, and emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost and decreased earning capacity
- Special accommodations to assist with your injuries
Law firms throughout the country are aggressively investigating and pursuing claims related to defective airbag injuries. Attorneys have suggested several ways that you can bolster your case if you’re one of the many victims. First, be sure you fully document all of your injuries and the expenses associated with them. One way to do this is to collect hospital, medical, and prescription drug records. Also, try to take pictures of the deployed airbag and the surrounding areas. Or, if there is some other noticeable defect, take a picture of that as well. Lastly, if you have any automotive repair records relating to the defective airbags, give those to your attorney at Persist Communications. Each case is different, and the nature of possible compensation will hinge on the facts in each one. Lawsuits involving product defects are extraordinarily complex. You should contact a product defect or personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.