In general, consumers have a reasonable expectation that the everyday products that they use will not harm them. Airbag maker Takata recently announced that it is nearly doubling its recall of defective airbags. The already expansive recall will now hold the title of the most significant and largest auto recall in history. The expanded recall now impacts almost one in seven automobiles in the United States. The company previously recalled approximately 18 million vehicles for the auto defect and the recently announced additions will increase the number of airbags recalled to approximately 34 million vehicles. Many different models of vehicles, primarily built from 2000 to 2011, are impacted.
A total of five deaths in the U.S. and one abroad have been linked to the defective airbags. In addition, more than 10 other cases have been reported, which caused serious injuries, including damage to the victim’s vision. The airbags can explode, hurling shrapnel towards drivers and front-seat passengers. The airbags typically explode following an accident; however, there is at least one report of an airbag exploding when a vehicle was stopped. The airbag manufacturer previously resisted efforts by regulators to recall all of the defective airbags. The company insisted that humid weather caused the airbags to explode and that recalls should be limited to areas with humid weather. Nonetheless, the official cause of the airbags exploding is still unknown.
The airbag recall is one of the largest consumer recalls ever. Product recalls help to keep consumers safe from the unknown dangers of everyday products. However, additional legal options may be available to consumers who are injured or otherwise harmed by a defective auto part or dangerous or defective product. Products liability law seeks to keep consumers safe by holding a number of parties in the chain of distribution, including manufacturers, distributers, wholesalers, retailers and others, in some circumstances, liable when a consumer has been injured or otherwise harmed.
Because victims of a dangerous or defective product, such as a defective auto part, may face physical, financial and emotional challenges following an injury that resulted from a defective product, damages may be available to assist victims. It is helpful for victims who are harmed by a defective or dangerous product to familiarize themselves with all of the resources available to help them.
Source: CNN Money, “Airbag maker Takata announces largest auto recall ever,” Chris Isidore and Rene Marsh, May 20, 2015