Honda Motor Co. announced on Nov. 13 that they have linked yet another fatal accident to defective Takata airbags. This is the fifth death linked to the airbags.
In July 2014, a driver in Malaysia suffered fatal injuries after the airbag lag inflator in her Honda City model ruptured and sent metal shards into the vehicle. It is the first death reported outside of the U.S. According to Honda, the airbag inflator that ruptured had likely been exposed to excessive moisture at the company’s La Grange, Georgia plant.
Honda has now widened their recall to include another 170,000 vehicles, however, none of the affected models were sold in the U.S.
Takata Corp. could soon face a criminal investigation as three senators have called on the Justice Department to investigate if the company lied in reports filed with the government and determine who should be held responsible if misleading information was provided.
Should the Justice Department move forward with an investigation, which is likely, it will be the second investigation into Takata in the past five years. In 2013, the company agreed to plead guilty for their participation in price-fixing seatbelts installed in cars sold in the United States. Not only did three executives agree to serve time in a U.S. prison, the corporation was also forced to pay $71.3 million in fines.
Takata Corp. recently announced that they modified the composition of an airbag propellant that contains a volatile chemical at the center of their recall. A Takata official spoke to Reuters under anonymity and said the shift was part of its process to continually improve their designs. Although the company believes the new composition is safer than before, they continue to deny that their original version was defective.
As information continues to trickle in about these airbags and the company’s handling of a potential defect, more and more victims may come forward.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a Takata airbag, the Cincinnati personal injury attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy are here to help. We can help you determine if you are eligible to file a claim for medical expenses, lost wages and more.