Takata Settles Airbag Cases to Reorganize
Last week, every major news outlet had an article about the news that Takata has settled its airbag litigations with everyone from injured victims to car makers. They did this to move out of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and reorganize. The overall settlement sets up a trust fund that will be used to settle the many lawsuits still outstanding. Thus far, the faulty airbags have caused 16 deaths and caused nearly 185 injuries. That is tragic for those whose loved ones were lost due to the company’s failures to inform consumers and auto manufacturers about this problem or to correct this defect until it was too late. Their lives cannot be restored. Our trust in parts manufacturers might be restored over time.
We depend on car manufacturers and those who provide parts to our vehicles, to live up to the safety standards established under American laws and regulations. It shakes our trust when a device that is supposed to protect the driver and passengers from harm or injury in an auto crash, instead causes harm or death. Airbags have saved many lives since they were required in American vehicles. But when we get into our vehicles we don’t think that a safety device can malfunction and harm us, either by detonating for no reason or detonating in a car crash but causes additional harm. Over forty million American cars have these potentially faulty airbags. Any many many vehicles are still on the roads with them, since replacements have been difficult to obtain.
Takata’s Fraud Impacts Consumers
As many readers will recall, Takata turned out to have done some very bad things. Last year, the Japanese company was hit hard by the United States Department of Justice, which had charged them with some very shameful conduct including crimes involving fraud and falsifying data on the defective airbags. They paid a great deal in reputation loss and fines amounting to about $1 billion to the regulators and to the car makers who had to expend dollars on a major recall of the airbags.
Airbag Crisis Continues
As Forbes has noted, the settlement doesn’t solve the airbag problem for many consumers. This means that there could be more airbag tragedies in the future, since removing these airbags is critical to keeping drivers safe. The airbags can inflate without warning and place drivers and passengers at risk.
As part of the Forbes report, it was revealed that thousands of Ford pick ups are in danger of harmful airbag inflation. The danger with Ranger trucks is imminent and the company has taken drastic action to manage it. They have asked their dealers to retrieve owners’ trucks and provide a loaner at no expense. Ford will then replace the airbags for the Ranger owners. We hope that anyone driving a Ford Ranger will heed this warning and get in touch with or respond to dealers’ requests.
Scholle Law is solely dedicated to the health and safety of our community. Our Gwinnett County injury lawyer team is at the ready to help those injured by defective products or otherwise. Contacting us is the first step in getting the legal support needed after an accident or injury.