Takata, the airbag manufacturing company now notorious for their recent manufacturing defects, is facing additional legal ramifications for their actions. Takata came under fire for their responsibility for severe defects. The defective airbags in question have the potential to deploy randomly while the car is in operation. In addition to this, the airbag inflator devices had the potential to explode, launching shrapnel at the driver and any passengers in the vehicle. In a large settlement, the company was forced to pay one billion dollars to the automakers they dealt airbags to, a compensation fund for victims of the accidents, and criminal fines for their negligence.
Takata's New Case
While the settlement happened last month, Takata is in hot water once more in a different civil lawsuit filed against them. A separate lawsuit seeks to claim damages from not only Takata but also several other automakers who used their airbags. The lawsuit makes the claim that Honda, Ford, BMW, Toyota, and Nissan all knew of the issues regarding Takata airbags for over a decade, but continued to use them because of their cheapness and ease in mass-production. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs have said that the automotive companies in the prior lawsuit called themselves victims of the defective airbag sales, but they ignore the real victims, the people who were actually and physically injured by these airbags.
The lawsuit further alleges that Honda had an intimate involvement with the design of the Takata airbags, and claims that the company had at least two incidents of airbag ruptures during their 1999 and 2000 testing cycles. The company continued to use the air bags in spite of this, and according to court documents, had at least 77 more airbag rupture incidents in vehicles on the road before taking steps for a recall.
Honda has rejected these allegations, calling them false, and cited the initial Takata case in their defense. Takata had admitted in court to have known about the safety failings in their product via a guilty plea. Honda claims that they were misled to believe that the airbags were up to safety standards, pointing to what was discussed in the initial case. Arguments for the side of the plaintiff have gone on to say Honda knew of this and continued to careless use these airbags regardless.
Takata, also involved in this lawsuit, claims that although they have admitted to providing automakers with false safety information, this does not impact their degree of liability. Their agreement with the Justice Department does not explicitly state that this conduct caused the rupture or recalls, nor the economic harm that resulted.
Corporations owe their customers a great deal of responsibility when it comes to making safe products. This is especially the case when a corporation manufactures things used every day, such as cars, and the objects that are potentially life-saving, such as air bags. If you or a loved one has been injured through product failure, or any other incident, contact Gilman & Bedigian today.