It is likely that many motorists in Hawaii own or have ridden in automobiles that contain airbags manufactured by the Takata Corporation. In the United States alone, more than 19 million vehicles have been recalled due to claims that the airbags are prone to explode, spraying fragments and pieces of metal at drivers and passengers. Worldwide, millions more motor vehicles have also been the subject of recall notices. Under any circumstances, defective products can pose serious hazards to consumers. This certainly appears to be the case with Takata airbags, which have been deemed responsible for more than 100 injuries and eight deaths.
Honda Motors recently severed its ties with Takata, claiming that the airbag manufacturer misrepresented and manipulated important data. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a severe penalty of up to $200 million against the Takata. Part of the penalty, $70 million, is for failing to properly disclose known defects in the airbags. Another $130 million will be added if Takata does not comply with a consent order.
Part of the consent order states that Takata must prove that ammonium nitrate (a propellant used to make the airbags inflate and thought to be the leading cause of the explosions) is safe; otherwise, it must phase out its use of the chemical component in its airbags. A Takata spokesman publicly denied that the company’s engineers manipulated test data. He said they merely reported on part of the results because the data varied.
Defective products continue to be problematic for many consumers in Hawaii and across the United States. Whether one’s injuries were caused by a motor vehicle component, a household product or purchased food or medication, it is possible to seek liability by filing a legal claim in a civil court if one believes that a defect in design or known potential hazard caused serious injuries. A personal injury lawyer would be able to investigate the details of a situation and help determine all possible sources of liability, as well as act as one’s advocate in court.
Source: The New York Times, “Honda Drops Takata as U.S. Issues Huge Fine Over Airbags“, Hiroko Tabuchi,Danielle Ivory, Nov. 3, 2015