Takata Airbag Claims Lawyers in St. Louis
High-End Counsel for Product Liability Cases
There should be no doubt that airbags are a lifesaver. As the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points out, the government estimates that as of 2015 almost 45,000 lives had been saved by frontal airbags. The Institute estimates that these airbags reduce driver fatalities by 29% and adult front-seat passengers by 30%. Airbags combined with seat belts reduce the risk of death 51%. Plus, airbags are always getting better. That said, there have been airbag problems in the past, and manufacturers should be held accountable when their actions cause damage to their consumers. At The Dixon Injury Firm, our St. Louis Takata airbag claims attorneys are here to help you better understand your options as you pursue your claim.
Call our firm at (314) 208-2808 today to schedule your free case review.
Life Savers Becoming Life Enders
As detailed in Consumer Reports, a Japanese company called Takata manufactured airbags that were installed in vehicles made by at least 19 different automakers during the model years 2002 through 2015. These airbags are inflated by a little metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers. In many crashes, this inflator cartridge has ruptured and sent metal shards out from the airbag. Many drivers were impaled with shrapnel instead of saved by a relatively soft airbag, and at least 11 deaths and 180 injuries were blamed on the problem. More than 42 million vehicles were impacted by the resulting recall and Takata has since filed for bankruptcy.
Allegations of Hiding Risks
The New York Times reported that the potential for Takata airbag claims was so alarming to the company that it tried to cover up the problem. When one of its airbags spewed metal debris at a driver in Alabama, the company quietly retrieved 50 airbags from scrapyards and then tested them in a lab. Two of the 50 cracked during the tests, which seemed to signal a high rate of risk and led to engineers beginning the process of designing a fix for a recall.
Takata executives had another plan. They ordered the lab technicians to delete the testing data and dispose of the tested airbags in the trash. It would be several more years before the problem was reported to regulators. In the meantime, Takata would blame problems on manufacturing and quality control problems that were isolated to one factory in Washington state had since been resolved. It appears that Takata’s problems were widespread, though. The company appears to have been sloppy throughout its process as it was under pressure to keep up with demand.
Risks from Ammonium Nitrate
Takata was originally formed in 1933. It began making airbags in 1988 and at one point owned 20% of the world market. In 2001 the company made a fateful decision to switch the main ingredient in its inflators from a chemical called tetrazole to a chemical called ammonium nitrate. The Atlantic reported that this may have been a huge mistake. Ammonium nitrate is cheaper and it can work, but it is also prone to exploding violently when it is supposed to rapidly expand. Part of the problem is that the government does not closely regulate airbags. They are required in new cars, but details like propellant type are not scrutinized by the government. Problems that go undetected may not be revealed for years.
Let Us Evaluate Your Case
Not surprisingly, Takata and the car companies that used its airbags have all be subject to numerous lawsuits. The companies involved have set up a website that can help you understand your rights. It can be a bit complicated to wade into without your own lawyer, though. If you have been injured by a defective airbag, please feel free to contact The Dixon Injury Firm for a free evaluation of your case. We can help you determine if you should receive compensation and what steps you need to take. Our consultations are free and if we take on your case we will not charge you any money out of pocket. We only get paid if we collect funds for you, so there is no risk.
Contact our St. Louis Takata airbag claims attorneys today to begin the process.