In the wake of the largest auto recall in history, a federal judge in Florida has approved settlements against a number of auto manufacturers in 2017. The recall involves defects in airbag inflators in nearly 34 million vehicles worldwide. Most of the affected cars were manufactured before 2009.
The defect stemmed from the propellant, which inflates the airbag. It was found to burn at a rate too powerful for the air bag to handle when exposed to humidity and wear. This caused the casing of the inflator to split and send shrapnel through the air in the direction of passengers upon impact in an accident. As of the end of 2017, the airbag inflator defect was linked to 20 deaths with the most recent death taking place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in July.
Numerous lawsuits have been brought against Takata in connection with this defect. The plaintiffs allege that Takata knew about the defect in its airbags over a decade ago as a result of tests that showed serious issues in the airbag inflation mechanism. The claim is that Takata instructed its engineers to discard the damaging data and failed to report the findings to federal safety regulators. Takata eventually pled guilty to wire fraud and admitted that it produced false reports and made other untruthful statements to persuade automakers to purchase the defective airbags. Takata agreed to settle for $1 billion and shortly afterward filed for bankruptcy.
Now a final settlement has been approved in several customer class action lawsuits for a proposed $741 million. The settlement involves a number of automakers, including Toyota, BMW, Subaru, and Mazda. Toyota is set to pay the largest amount according to the settlement. These four automakers are the first to settle the lawsuit and exit the multidistrict litigation relating to the Takata recall. Nissan reached a separate settlement agreement. Only Ford is still a part of the multidistrict litigation and has refused to settle.
As the hardest hit manufacturer in the Takata airbag debacle, Honda has agreed to a large settlement to pay for out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages related to repairs to Takata equipped vehicles. The $605 million settlement also covers costs associated with locating owners with unrepaired cars. Honda owners could get $500 if funds remain after paying attorney’s fees and reimbursing owners for expenses.
If you or a member of your family was injured in an accident resulting from a recalled vehicle, contact Alexander Law Group, LLC. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will be sure you get the maximum compensation possible. Call 888.777.1776, or contact us online.