In 2012, airbags prevented an estimated 2,213 motor vehicle traffic accident fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Without these airbags, thousands more people would die or suffer serious injury. Unfortunately, airbags can sometimes malfunction and fail to provide the protection drivers and passengers expect.
A personal injury lawyer knows when airbags do not work as they should, the manufacturer of the airbag or the vehicle that it is in can be held legally liable for any resulting consequences.
Product liability laws impose strict liability, which means manufacturers are to blame even if negligence cannot be demonstrated, as long as the product defect was the direct cause of injury. Manufacturers need to act quickly to ensure they remove any vehicles with defective airbags from the market and promptly replace the broken safety devices.
Takata Responsible for Recall of More Than Eight Million Vehicles
According to CNN, a company called Takata has manufactured defective airbags that explode and cause vehicle passengers to be hit with chunks of metal. So far, at least four deaths and dozens of injuries have reportedly been blamed on defective Takata airbags. Takata manufactures these airbags for vehicles made by 10 different vehicle brands.
One of the auto makers for which Takata produces the safety devices is Toyota. Officials with Toyota recently announced it will handle a shortage of replacement airbags in a way many safety experts are decrying. Toyota has sought and obtained permission from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to simply remove the airbags from vehicles. The plan is a temporary fix until more parts become available. The passenger airbag will be taken out of the affected vehicles and a sticker will be placed on the dash warning that there is no airbag in place and that people should not use the passenger seat until the vehicle is fixed.
However, the executive director for the Center for Auto Safety has expressed a belief this is not the right approach to take to protect consumers. Without an airbag, there will be significantly more risks of death or serious injury if a crash happens. Not everyone will follow the warnings on the sticker or bring their vehicle back in in a timely manner to have the airbag reinstalled. Since the airbags do not explode in every situation, it may be better for the airbags to stay in the car and at least have the chance of providing protection as opposed to a guarantee there will be no life-saving safety device if a collision occurs.
The right response in this situation is difficult to determine, and the manufacturer has created a risk to consumers no matter what by putting a defective airbag into vehicles. The manufacturer should be held accountable if anyone is harmed as a result of the problems with the Takata airbags.
Consultation with an experienced injury lawyer is the first step for crash victims.
Missouri accident victims should contact the offices of Tolbert Beadle and Musgrave LLC at 1-800-887-4030. Serving Springfield, Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin and throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri & Oklahoma.