Defective Takata airbags may cause serious injuries

Japanese company Takata is facing increased pressure to address the dangers of its airbags, known to deploy unexpectedly and shoot metal pieces at drivers.

Pressure is growing for Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata, which is facing numerous injury lawsuits stemming from malfunctioning airbags that reportedly shoot shrapnel into the faces of drivers. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, there have been at least two people killed and 30 more injured from the airbags, mostly those installed in Honda vehicles. Takata is the largest producer of airbags in the world, and it counts most major automakers as clients.

There is currently a class-action lawsuit in progress in Florida against Takata and several major automakers, including BMW, Ford, Honda, Nissan and Toyota -plaintiffs claim those companies hid the dangers of airbag defects from consumers. As one example, a young woman in Florida had pieces of metal lodged into her eye socket after an airbag unexpectedly deployed, causing a possibly long-term injury.

The problems for Takata reportedly started back in 2008 when its defective airbags prompted Honda to recall about 4,000 of its Accord and Civic models across the U.S. In the past two years alone, there have been another 7.8 million recalls, mostly conducted on regional levels and spanning 10 different vehicle makers. However, according to a Bloomberg analysis, there may be up to 7 million vehicles on the road nationwide with the defective airbags still installed.

In addition to the U.S., the Japanese government is now forcing automakers to recall motor vehicles with possibly defective Takata airbags. In fact, according to the New York Times, the country's transportation minister went so far as to say that the manufacturer is jeopardizing Japan's reputation for car-making excellence.

Addressing dangerous product recalls

In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission oversees the recall of any potentially dangerous products, including automotive parts and equipment in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These federal agencies aim to protect the public from products that pose significant and unreasonable risks to consumers. In fact, according to CPSC officials, the agency's efforts have helped to substantially reduce the rates of serious injuries and deaths due to consumer products over the past three decades.

The NHTSA also offers online tools to help consumers look up possibly defective or dangerous automotive parts, including items like airbags, tires, brakes, child restraints and fuel pumps.

When companies release hazardous products to consumers without adequate warnings or without issuing a recall, they risk the safety of hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. To learn more about your options after an injury or illness due to a defective or poorly designed product made available to the public, contact an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney. You may be able to pursue a product liability claim for damages like medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Keywords: products liability, injury