When an air bag deploys in a motor vehicle accident, drivers and passengers expect some soreness and bruising, which is certainly better than the serious injuries that can occur without one. However, if an air bag is defective, it can lead to much more critical injuries and even death. This is why the Japanese air bag manufacturing company Takata is involved with a recall on their airbags which has now become the largest automotive recall of any kind in U.S. History.
In the last two years, 28.8 million cars from ten manufacturers have been recalled due to the faulty inflators in the air bags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns there could be another 85 million recalls if Takata cannot prove the inflators in the airbags are safe. The problem stems from the propellant used in the inflators which can become unstable, causing the airbag to explode with an amount of force so great that it sends metal shrapnel flying towards drivers and passengers.
Sadly, this is exactly what happened to Huma Hanif, a 17-year-old who was killed when a piece sharp metal debris from an airbag lodged in her neck. The Texas teenager was reportedly only traveling at 15 mph when she hit the car in front of her, and by all accounts should have walked away from the crash with minor injuries. She was barely able to get out of the car when she collapsed and died. The high school senior is the tenth person in the U.S. fatally injured as a result of the faulty air bags.
Unfortunately, not everyone who has a recalled vehicle has received the notices from car manufacturers warning them of the issue. As much as the car companies try and track down the current owners of recalled vehicles, many times the car has had multiple owners, leading to the lack of information. Especially since the vehicles in the recall were made from 2000-2008. To get more information on the recall and see if your car in included, the NHTSA has set up a special website at www.safecar.gov.
Despite the fact that over 7.5 million airs bags have been repaired, there are millions more out there at risk for a dangerous and deadly explosion. It is estimated the recall could cost Takata millions of dollars and take years to complete. For this reason it is imperative to know if your vehicle is part of the recall and to schedule an appointment to have it repaired as soon as possible. If you or someone you love has been injured due to a faulty or defective air bag, contact Finz & Finz, P.C., as you will need an attorney who will stand up to the big companies that put your health and safety in jeopardy.