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Airbag Lawsuit (May 2024 Update) Here’s How Much You Can Get

The Takata Corp. has recalled millions of defective airbag inflators that can explode without warning, shooting metal debris at drivers and passengers inside the cabin. The problem has been linked to dozens of deaths and hundreds of serious injuries worldwide.
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What’s the Problem?

The recalled airbags were installed as a temporary remedy until Takata could find a permanent solution to the problem, which affected more than 50 million Takata airbags worldwide.

The recalled airbags use ammonium nitrate, the same chemical contained in the original defective inflators, which were found to misfire without warning, killing at least 25 people and injuring hundreds more. The inflators exploded when the propellant that inflates the Takata airbags breaks down after years of exposure to inclement weather, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Takata maintains the new inflators have not been linked to any malfunctions or fatal injuries.

The automaker is unsure how many vehicles were fitted with the newer inflators, or how many were never installed. The devices were distributed to 14 automakers, including Subaru, Audi, and BMW. Some of these auto manufacturers have issued their own recalls for the inflators.

Related Article: Defective GM Airbags & Ignition Switch Lawsuit

Personal Injury

What Types of Injuries Can Occur from Defective Takata Airbags?

Injuries from exploding Takata airbags can be horrific.

Police responding to the scene of a minor car accident in California believed the driver had been shot in the face.

At another crash site in Georgia, police thought the female driver was a murder victim because of the wounds on her throat. In both cases, the drivers died. The cause of their injuries was a defective Takata airbag.

In another incident, shrapnel from a Takata airbag tore into a woman’s carotid artery. She nearly bled to death but survived and now claims that her blood loss led to strokes, a seizure, and a speech disorder.

A woman involved in a minor Florida car accident had a piece of shrapnel fracture her nasal bone and embed it in her eye, blinding her. A Puerto Rico fender-bender left a woman with a sliced open jaw.

Airbag deployment is basically a controlled explosion that uses the same type of technology found in military munitions. Takata airbag flaws can result in excessive pressure that releases the airbag too fast or even fragments the metal canister, producing injuries including:

  • Cuts/lacerations to the face, neck, throat, torso, or arms
  • Burns
  • Bruises
  • Broken/fractured bones
  • Broken teeth
  • Loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Larynx or vocal cord injury
  • Complications from blood loss
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Permanent hearing loss or impairment
  • Mild to severe brain injury
  • Injury to pregnancy
  • Nerve damage
  • Facial/neck/limb paralysis
  • Death

Accident Occurred

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Ford Maverick Airbag Recall

In August 2022, Ford Motor Co. issued a recall for certain Ford Maverick pickup trucks over a problem with the side curtain airbags that weren’t deploying properly. To correct the issue, Ford instructed dealers to replace the defective airbags with new ones that feature a revised design.

However, a new class action lawsuit has been filed alleging that Ford’s repair doesn’t actually fix the Maverick’s airbag problem.

The complaint seeks to include not only the approximately 65,000 Ford Maverick pickups covered by the recall but also any other Blue Oval vehicle “equipped with the same Safety Canopy side curtain airbags.” Plaintiff alleges that Ford’s fix doesn’t guarantee that the problem will be rectified, as Ford has yet to determine the root cause of the issue.

The lawsuit is John Solak v. Ford Motor Company, 2:2023cv10064. Michigan Eastern District Court.

Kia Recalls 410,000 Vehicles Over Airbag Defects

Kia is recalling more than 410,000 vehicles due to an issue that may prevent its airbags from inflating during a crash. “The Air Bag Control Unit (ACU) cover may contact a memory chip on the printed circuit board and damage the electrical circuit,” NHTSA said on Jan. 25, 2022. “Circuit damage may result in deactivated airbags that will not deploy in a crash.” Models affected by the recall include:

  • Soul vehicles manufactured from July 25, 2016, through Dec. 24, 2018, 2017-2019
  • Sedona vehicles manufactured from July 12, 2016, through Jan. 10, 2019, 2017-2019
  • Soul EV vehicles manufactured from May 18, 2017, through Sept. 28, 2018, 2017-2018
  • Forte vehicles manufactured from March 2, 2017, through July 27, 2018
  • All 2017 model year Forte Koup vehicles manufactured on Oct. 4, 2016

To date, Kia has received at least 13 customer complaints and 947 warranty claims related to the issue. The company said dealers will inspect the airbag control unit and either update its software or replace it free of charge, and will also reimburse owners of the impacted vehicles for any repair expenses already incurred.

GM Recalls Chevrolet Silverado for Airbag Problems

General Motors is recalling 2007-2008 Chevy Silverado 2500s & 3500s, and GMC Sierra 2500s and 3500s, to replace passenger front Takata airbags that were used as interim remedy parts for previous Takata recalls. GM is notifying owners, and dealerships will replace the airbags free of charge. The Takata recall began on Feb. 24, 2020.

Legal Options

Subaru Recalls 7 Models Over Defective Exploding Airbags

Subaru of America, Inc., has issued a recall for the following vehicles that were previously recalled for defective Takata airbags:

  • 2009-2013 Subaru Forester
  • 2003-2006 Subaru Baja
  • 2004-2011 Subaru Impreza
  • 2004-2014 Subaru WRX (STI included)
  • 2003-2014 Subaru Legacy
  • 2003-2014 Subaru Outback
  • 2005-2006 Saab 9-2X

According to the NHTSA, the recalled Subarus were originally sold in the following states: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands or “Zone A.”

Property Damage

Pontiac Vibe Recalled for Airbag Replacement

General Motors is recalling 554 Pontiac Vibes from model years 2003 and 2004 which may be equipped with Takata airbag defects. Affected models had their front passenger-side airbags replaced under a previous recall, and may contain inflators that fail to inflate properly during high-temperature situations, increasing the risk of personal injury during a crash. While the 2003-2007 Pontiac Vibe is involved in the Takata airbag recall, the replacement inflators in this recall do not pose the same risk as other Takata airbags.

Tens of Millions

Toyota & Honda Recall 6 Million Vehicles for Takata Airbag Problems

Toyota and Honda are recalling more than 6 million cars worldwide for issues that may cause their airbags to malfunction.

Toyota’s recall affects about 3.4 million cars worldwide and was initiated after reports surfaced of airbags not inflating during a crash. The recalled vehicles have airbag control computers made by ZF-TRW which could be vulnerable to electrical interference and may not signal the bags to inflate.

The Honda recall affects about 2.7 million vehicles equipped with Takata airbags, which are technically different from the original defective inflators but may behave similarly and inflate without warning, ejecting metal particles into the cabin.

Subaru Recalls 500,000 Vehicles for Defective Airbag

As part of the larger airbag recall, Subaru is recalling about 500,000 of its vehicles for defective inflators that can explode without warning. The Subaru recall affects the following vehicles, which are from model years 2003-2014:

Subaru said the driver seat front airbag is not affected by the recall in any of these vehicles; the action only applies to front passenger airbags, the automaker said.

Subaru recalled the same models in 2015 for the same reason, but the inflators used to fix those defective inflators were also defective, requiring yet another fix.


Class Action

Nissan, Infiniti Recall 300,000 Cars to Replace Defective Takata Airbags

Nissan Motor North America is recalling 307,962 Nissan and Infiniti vehicles to replace Takata front passenger airbags. Affected vehicles include:

These same vehicles were recalled in 2015 to be fitted with temporary replacement airbags until permanent ones were available.

“Nissan Group is implementing the next phase of the Takata inflator recalls in accordance with the predetermined coordinated remedy schedule set by NHTSA,” a Nissan spokeswoman told Consumer Reports.

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Takata Airbag Recall Timeline

  • May 2015 – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) orders Takata to recall faulty airbags in vehicles from the following automakers: BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Mazda, Honda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Daimler Trucks, and Nissan. About 36 million vehicles were affected by this recall. At least 6 airbag injuries had been linked to the problem.
  • January 2016 – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that about 5 million vehicles were recalled from Audi, BMW, Daimler Vans, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Saab, and Volkswagen. Defect linked to 9 deaths in U.S., 10 worldwide.
  • February 2016 – Takata recalls BMW Daimler Vans, Sprinter Vans (labeled Mercedes-Benz, Dodge, and Freightliner), Ford, Honda (and Acura), Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen for defective airbags.
  • March 2016 – BMW announces it is unable to meet a deadline to supply parts for defective airbags.
  • May 2016 – Takata Airbag Recall announced an additional 35-40 million vehicles equipped with defective inflators. The problem is linked to 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide.
  • September 2016 – 14th death linked to defective Takata airbags; U.S. Department of Justice publicly stated that the vehicle manufacturers mishandled the Takata Airbag Recall issue.

Class Action Lawsuit

What are Takata Airbag Personal Injury Lawsuits Alleging?

Evidence against Takata has reached a tipping point now that the cause of the defects has been revealed.

As more victims make the connection between their injuries and the airbags in their cars, they’re filing lawsuits to hold Takata responsible for the following defective products:

  • Fraudulently concealing the airbag inflator defect
  • Failing to notify the public of the full and complete nature of the defect
  • Not fully investigating and disclosing, and in fact downplaying, the prevalence of the problem
  • Producing airbag systems containing an inherent, unreasonable, and dangerous defect
  • Breaching its duty to consumers by negligently designing, manufacturing, testing, and selling unreasonably unsafe airbag systems
  • Concealing the defective and dangerous condition of its airbags from vehicle owners, safety regulators, and the general public

The plaintiffs claim that, as a result of Takata’s negligence, they suffered injuries that could have been prevented. Had they known about the airbag defect, plaintiffs say, they would not have continued driving their vehicle without having repairs performed.

Lending even more validity to these cases, the state of Hawaii and the Virgin Islands (a U.S. territory) have sued Takata and Honda over their failure to warn residents of fatally defective Takata airbags.

Related Article: Average Settlement for Airbags Not Deploying

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Have you or a loved one been unreasonably injured by a dangerous or defective consumer product?

Am I Eligible to File a Takata Airbag Lawsuit?

You may be eligible for a Takata airbag lawsuit if:

  • Your vehicle is equipped with a Takata airbag
  • The airbag deployed aggressively or the inflator canister fragmented
  • The vehicle occupants suffered bruises, burns, cuts, or any of the other injuries listed in the “What Types of Injuries Can Occur?” section of this page

Important: It does not matter how the accident happened. If your airbag malfunctioned, and you were seriously harmed as a result, you could be entitled to compensation.

It is also possible to file a lawsuit if you lost a loved one in an accident involving a defective Takata airbag.


What Is the Takata Airbag Recall About?

The Takata airbag recall is about millions of defective airbag inflators that can explode, releasing metal debris and causing serious injuries or deaths.

What Injuries Can Occur From Defective Takata Airbags?

Injuries that can occur from defective Takata airbags include cuts, burns, broken bones, loss of vision, hearing loss, brain injuries, and death.

Which Vehicles Are Affected by the Takata Airbag Recall?

Vehicles that are affected by the Takata airbag recall include Subaru, Ford, Kia, GM, and Honda.

Why Are Takata Airbags Dangerous?

Takata airbags are dangerous because the inflators can misfire due to ammonium nitrate propellant breaking down over time, leading to explosions.

Which Takata Airbags Are Being Recalled?

Takata airbags that are being recalled include certain 2001 to 2003 Honda and Acura models with “alpha” airbags, the 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series pickup trucks, and the 1999 BMW 323i and 328i. These vehicles are at extreme risk. Owners should not drive these vehicles and seek immediate repairs.

Why Did Takata Fail?

Takata failed because a group of 10 automakers found that Takata airbag explosions were caused by exposure to humidity, design and manufacturing issues, and the use of ammonium nitrate.

Get a Free Airbag Malfunction Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers

The Product Liability Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in airbag recall lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one was injured by a malfunctioning airbag, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free consultation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.

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