Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Apr 15, 2016 in Product Liability
According to newly released internal documents, in August 2009, Honda discreetly requested that Takata Corp. redesign its airbag inflator to create a fail-safe model after ruptures had been tied to four injuries and one death.
U.S. law states that auto manufacturers must inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of any potential vehicle safety issues as well as the company’s prevention efforts. Honda, however failed to notify regulators about the change.
Alterations to the airbag’s design were noted in Takata’s internal documents, proving that both Takata and Honda knew about the safety risks posed by the airbags in 2009, though widespread recalls for the defective Takata airbag inflators did not start until 2014 – five years after the problem was documented.
Honda and Takata Claim Manufacturing Errors, Not Safety Risks
Both companies have attempted to minimize the severity of their failure to notify the NHTSA of safety issues surrounding Takata airbags and the 2009 redesign.
Honda claims the changes addressed manufacturing errors, rather than design defects, which did not require the company to notify regulators.
Takata acknowledged a design change was made to the airbag inflators following Honda’s request. The company added vents to divert explosions from the upper torso of vehicle drivers.
Takata Airbag Recall is the Largest Auto Recall in U.S. History
In 2014, millions of vehicles were recalled after faulty Takata airbag inflators were linked to 90 injuries and eight deaths in the U.S. Honda alone has recalled nearly 8.5 million vehicles since 2008. The auto manufacturer was Takata’s largest customer.
Lawsuits against Takata, Honda and other automobile manufacturers have been consolidated in Miami federal court. Trials concerning injury and wrongful death claims could begin as soon as next year.
Negligent manufacturers deserve to be held accountable for their faulty products. If you have been harmed by a defective product, including automotive products such as Takata airbags, you could be entitled to compensation through a product liability lawsuit. Contact Stephens, Anderson & Cummings for a free case review.