After an investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Takata with concealing a dangerous defect in airbags sold across the U.S., a settlement has been reached. Takata agreed to plead guilty to one criminal charge and pay $1 billion dollars in fines and restitution to clear up the charges of misconduct. In addition to the hefty fines, three Takata executives have been indicted on federal charges for their involvement in the cover-up. So far, the dangers air bags have prompted the recall of over 42 million vehicles and have been the subject of numerous Takata airbag lawsuits.
What Did Takata Do Wrong?
According to federal prosecutors, Takata executives knew the airbags could pose a lethal threat to drivers and falsified safety reports indicating that the airbags were defective and prone to explosion. Reports reviewed by investigators revealed that Takata repeatedly issued “selective, incomplete or inaccurate data” and failed to “clarify inaccurate information” provided to safety regulators. Based on these falsified reports, many large auto manufacturers, such as Honda, bought and installed Takata airbags in their vehicles. Because of the deceptive information given to regulators, the defect was not discovered until it was too late. Due to a shortage in replacement parts, many vehicles on the recall list will have to wait for repairs as older vehicles are being given priority.
Because of this, Takata must pay $1 billion in fines and penalties. According to the terms of the settlement, Takata will be required to deposit $125 million in a victim’s compensation fund, payout $850 million to automakers whose cars were affected, and pay a $25 million dollar fine to the U.S. Government.
Why Are The Takata Airbags Exploding?
The problem is caused by a chemical called ammonium nitrate, which is used to inflate the airbags in the case of a collision. This chemical is known to be both highly explosive and unstable under certain conditions. Prolonged exposure to hot and humid conditions may cause the airbags to explode with excessive force sending sharp pieces of shrapnel flying at the driver and passengers in the car. The National Highway and Traffic Administration (NHTA) advises that the vehicles posing the highest risk are older ones in areas with the most exposure to a combination of high humidity and high temperatures. The exploding airbags have caused the deaths of 11 people and seriously injured an additional 184 people in the U.S. alone.
Contact an Experienced Takata Airbag Recall Lawyer Today
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a defective Takata airbag, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, among other losses. Our firm is working with experienced Takata airbag lawyers across the country, who are investigating these cases. They may be able to file a lawsuit for you, and they charge no fee unless you win an award or settlement. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call our toll free number at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form online.