Takata Airbag Claims. Millions of Americans drive cars that contain defective airbags made by Takata. These airbags can malfunction and cause serious injuries or deaths to the occupants of the vehicles. The Los Angeles Times reports that 24 people around the world have been killed by these airbags, and hundreds have suffered serious injuries. Because of the dangers and risks, the airbags were recalled. The recall affected an estimated 41.6 million vehicles in the U.S. from a broad variety of manufacturers. Many people are unaware that their vehicles are impacted by the recall and are still driving vehicles with these airbags. In spite of the recall, airbags from the manufacturer are still being installed as replacements and in new vehicles. If you have been injured by a defective airbag in South Carolina, you should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach at the Lovely Law Firm.
Defects in the airbags
The airbags from this manufacturer contain ammonium nitrate as a propellant to quickly inflate the bags. The ammonium nitrate propellant does not contain a drying agent, and the compound is volatile and can burn too fast. When it burns too quickly, it can cause the airbags to explode and send shrapnel flying out at car occupants, causing severe injuries and burns. When a crash causes the airbags to deploy, the inflator can explode because of the volatility of the ammonium nitrate.
Types of injuries that can occur from defective airbags
The malfunction in the Takata airbags can cause the following types of injuries:
- Fractured arms
- Black eyes
- Broken neck
- Damage to the neck
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Compound fractures
- Facial and skull fractures
- Serious burns
- Severe lacerations
- Rib and clavicle fractures
- Spinal fractures
- Shrapnel injuries
- Hearing loss
- Scarring and disfigurment
- Vocal damage
According to Consumer Reports, vehicles from 19 different manufacturers are affected by the recall. The following manufacturers have different models that have been recalled to replace the airbags:
- General Motors
- Land Rover/Jaguar
Numerous models from each of these manufacturers are impacted. You can look up your car’s vehicle identification number to see if it has been affected by the recall on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website here.
Takata’s settlement with the government and subsequent bankruptcy
On January 13, 2017, the company reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice through which it agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and to pay a penalty of $1 billion. Out of that amount, $125 million was to be set aside as a compensation fund for consumers called the Individual Restitution Fund. In June 2017, the company filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. Multiple creditors intervened in the bankruptcy and secured an agreement to establish a trust fund to benefit personal injury victims with claims against the company and future victims who might be injured. This trust fund was to hold from $90 to $137 million.
Lawsuits against the company
Despite the bankruptcy, people who are seriously injured and the families of those who have been killed by the defective airbags have several avenues to recover compensation for their losses. There are three primary sources of recovery. Some injured people may only be able to recover compensation through one source while others might be eligible to recover from more than one source. These avenues for the recovery of compensation include the following:
- Individual Restitution Fund
- Bankruptcy Trust
- Participant Original Equipment Manufacturer Fund
The Takata Individual Restitution Fund is the fund that was ordered by the federal court when the company pleaded guilty to wire fraud. This fund was established with $125 million to compensate people who have suffered injuries or who will suffer injuries from defective airbags from the company who have not yet resolved their claims against the company.
The Takata Bankruptcy Trust is the fund that was created by TK Holdings’ bankruptcy plan. This trust is estimated to have a value from $90 to $137 million, and the amount might increase. It is meant for people who have already suffered injuries from the airbags and those who will be injured in the future. The trust fund began accepting claims in 2018.
The Participant Original Equipment Manufacturer Fund was created to compensate victims of defective airbags installed in vehicles that were manufactured by Honda and Acura. These vehicles accounted for more injuries from exploding airbags than all of the other manufacturers when they are combined. This fund allows past and future victims of defective airbags to file claims.
The compensation that you might recover will depend on the extensiveness of your injuries, your other economic losses, and additional factors. Some of the types of recoverable damages in a lawsuit against the company include the following:
- Past and future medical costs
- Past and future lost wages
- Payment for special accommodations such as home health
- Physical pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Other losses
If your case involves wrongful death, you might be able to recover the following damages:
- Medical costs for treating the decedent from the time of his or her injury until death
- The decedent’s anticipated future earnings if he or she had remained alive
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of marital benefits
- Loss of guidance and support
Contact the Lovely Law Firm to learn more
If you have suffered serious injuries or have lost your loved one in South Carolina because of a defective airbag, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. The experienced Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyers at the Lovely Law Firm are currently accepting claims for defective airbags. To obtain a case evaluation, contact us today by calling 843.839.4111.