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Takata airbag injury, Chicago auto defect lawyersDefective Takata airbags, which caused one of the biggest automotive recalls in history, were linked to 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries. Exploding on impact, the defective airbags sent metal shrapnel flying throughout the car and at its occupants. But, until now, no one really understood why. Scientists say they now have the answer.

A Multi-Faceted Problem

According to NPR, ten automobile manufacturing companies banded together and hired a team of rocket scientists so they could better understand what exactly had caused the airbag problems. What they found was not just one contributing factor, but several. Exposure to humidity, problems with both the manufacturing and design, and the use of a volatile chemical known as ammonium nitrate are all to blame, the scientists say.

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Mazda Takata recall, Chicago product liability lawyersThe Takata airbag recall has affected ten car companies and over 30 million vehicles. Mazda announced they are adding an additional 540,000 older vehicles to the recall list. With Takata airbags being used in almost every automotive manufacturer, many are left to wonder if their vehicle will be added to the recall list. Automotive companies and Takata are responsible for the product liability of the defective airbags.

Consumers only have two options with this recall. They can choose to not drive their vehicle until the defective airbag is replaced or they can take the chance and hope they do not get into an accident where the airbag will deploy, possibly killing or injuring themselves or their passengers. Neither option is acceptable and in most cases consumers have no other option that to continue to drive their cars with the defective airbag.

Takata and investigators have not been able to determine which inflator in the airbag design is the cause of the problem. Reports are now saying it is multiple causes. This is an unsatisfactory answer to the largest recall in automotive history. If the company that designed the defective airbag and independent researchers cannot fix the design, consumers are being put at risk longer because the defective airbag will take longer to be replaced.

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Chicago defective product lawyerThe Takata airbag recall has been unfolding since October, starting with a massive recall that affected 11 car companies. The Takata recall was already setting records for the amount of companies it affected with the recall. On May 19, Takata nearly doubled the recall amount and now affects approximately 34 million vehicles. It is now the largest automotive recall in history.

With the recall almost doubling, it may take years to replace the airbags that are being recalled. New processing procedures and airbags have to be produced and then shipped to dealers for replacement. Implementing a new process for producing the airbags may require modifying machines, training employees, and the other procedures to ensure their product is safe. This can take time to implement, making consumers who have to have their airbags replaced wait even longer. Takata and the car companies have a product liability responsibility to the consumer to ensure their products are safe to use.

While the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Takata will not have all the vehicles affected for a few weeks at least, of the 11 companies affected by the recall, Honda has been affected the most. Reports have been reviewed about if Honda knew about the defects before the recall was issued and did not report it to the NHTSA, but Honda has started looking into other companies for replacing the airbags. The solution is coming a little too late for some consumers who have already been affected by the defect, including families who have lost family members due to the defective airbags.

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Takata airbag recall lawyer, Chicago product liability attorneyHonda announced it is adding nearly 105,000 more vehicles to the recall list it began last year over reports of potentially deadly airbags. The automaker’s recall now includes 5.5 millions vehicles sold under the Honda or Acura brands in the United States. Ten other auto manufacturers have also been forced to recall a combined 11.5 million vehicles equipped with possibly defective airbags, all products of the same auto parts supplier.

Recall Timeline

In October 2014, 11 automakers announced the recall of more than 14 million vehicle sold with airbags manufactured by Japanese part maker Takata. Less than month later, The New York Times carried a report that Takata was aware nearly ten years ago that some of the company’s airbags could possibly explode, putting a driver at risk from flying metal debris. The report claims that rather than notifying safety officials, Takata tested potential fixes and redesigns, then scrapped the program and scrubbed the data. Regulatory filings from the company do not acknowledge any such testing until 2008, when the first airbag rupture-related recall was initiated.

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takata airbag recall, Chicago IL Product Liability LawyerRecalls of Takata airbags started as early as 2008.  Takata and Honda allegedly both knew about the recalls as early as 2004. Why did the major recall from the National Highway Traffic-Safety Administration (NHTSA) not start until October of last year? Why are so many vehicles still on the road and not getting the necessary replacement they need?

Takata has indicated that they do not expect to have enough new airbags produced to cover the amount of recalled vehicles until late 2015. This is not an acceptable rate of replacement for a mandatory recall that has affected over 7.8 million vehicles from 10 car manufacturers.

The 10 manufacturers affected by the Takata recall have contracted with Orbital ATK to conduct their own tests on the defective airbags. Orbital ATK is a defense and aerospace firm that provides products to the United States, its allies, and government contractors. They were chosen by the 10 manufacturers for their expertise in the field of engineering and the ability to move the investigation into the defective airbags forward.

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Posted on in Product Liability

Takata airbag recalls, Chicago product liability lawyerWith 7.8 million U.S. vehicles affected by the recent Takata airbag recall, many people are wondering if their vehicle is affected by the recall and if it is safe to drive. Airbags can deploy, even in low-impact crashes, causing injuries and damage. If your vehicle is affected by the defective airbags, you may be at risk if your airbags deploy and may have a product liability case against the manufacturer.

In light of all the recent rolling recalls, people are also wondering who knew about the defects before the recalls started happening. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues recalls based on accident, individual, and car manufacturer reports. They did not start investigating Takata airbag defects and issuing recalls until 2009. Alleged evidence from Honda and Takata state they both knew as early as 2004 that there was a defect in the airbags.

In addition to Honda and Takata allegedly knowing about the defects, they did not notify NHTSA about the defects. At a hearing before the House Committee of Energy and Commerce, a Takata executive, Hiroshi Shimizu, would not clearly answer if the airbags were defective, but did apologize for the deaths and injuries.

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Takata airbag recall, Chicago product liability attorneyTakata airbags, used in many major car companies, are being recalled following reports of metal shards piercing victims’ faces and necks after the airbags deployed in accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a consumer advisory listing vehicle makes, models, and years affected by the recall.

Takata airbags are manufactured and sold by Takata Corporation of Japan to many car companies throughout the world. Those companies that have issued recalls are BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota, affecting over 7.8 million vehicles.

The NHTSA is urging car owners who own vehicles from the affected companies to check their VIN number to see if their vehicle is included in the recall. If your car is included in the recall, contact your car manufacturer for replacement details. The defective Takata airbags are linked to four deaths and over 100 injuries in accidents where the recalled airbag deployed, sometimes shooting metal shards into the inside of the car, caused by a potentially deteriorated propellant that ruptured the inflator housing.

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