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Air bag maker pleads guilty in massive defective product case

There is an unfortunate irony in learning that a product specifically designed to protect consumers is the bases for one of the largest automotive defective product scandals in United States history. The case revolves around metal canisters used to trigger airbags for deployment in the event of an automobile accident. A compound in the canisters used to create a small explosion to trigger the deployment is vulnerable to humidity and heat however, and may deteriorate and burn too quickly, causing a larger explosion which may send deadly shrapnel into its victims.

Takata Corp. was aware of the defect, yet deceived automakers with fraudulent and fake reports to hide the dangers of the product. In the United States, as many as 42 million vehicles had the defective devices installed; across the world, as many as 100 million devices were installed.

Takata pleaded guilty in federal court and agreed to pay $1 billion in penalties, including $125 million allocated for consumers injured or killed in the U.S. due to the defective devices. An additional suit has been filed against 5 automakers, stating that they were aware of the dangers of the Takata air bags, yet installed them in millions of vehicles regardless.

This news should come as a strong reminder that in the United States, victims of dangerous products, may be entitled to compensation for their injuries or illness by filing a products liability lawsuit. Additionally, family members of victims killed by defective products may also receive compensation. This may include pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages or future lost wages for families of victims killed by a defective product.

Source: ABC News, "Takata pleads guilty in air bag scandal, agrees to pay $1B," By Tom Krisher and Ed White, Feb. 27, 2017

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