Former Employees Allege Japanese Airbag Manufacturer Concealed Risks

Two former Takata employees recently shared alarming information with regulators, claiming the Japanese manufacturer has known for 10 years that its airbags could cause harm to consumers.

Ten years ago, back in 2004, the company secretly tested 50 of its airbags found in scrapyards, after a report surfaced that one of its airbags ruptured and churned out metal debris on an Alabama driver. According to the employees, the secret tests were conducted during evenings, weekends and holidays at the company’s American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan ─ when they wouldn’t have normally been at the office. Two former employees involved in the testing process claim the steel inflaters in two of the airbags cracked during the tests, which can lead to a rupture.

Consequently, the engineers began working on possible repairs, assuming a recall was imminent. However, instead of contacting federal executives, Takata executives opted to conceal the evidence and ordered the team to destroy the results.

Injured motorists filing airbag recall lawsuits

Takata issued its first recall over airbag rupture risks in November 2008 ─ the same year the company claims in regulatory filings that it first tested the defective airbags.

So far, regulators have received complaints of at least 139 injuries caused by Takata airbags, with 37 people reporting airbags that ruptured or emitted chemicals or metal.

Takata is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of airbags, responsible for approximately one-fifth of the world market, so it’s extremely probable that many more complaints will be filed.

Those who have been harmed by defective airbags, produced by Takata and other manufacturers, continue to file lawsuits against the corporations. A group of plaintiffs are working to consolidate all federal Takata litigation into multidistrict litigation.

To-date, at least five plaintiffs have filed an airbag recall class action lawsuit against Takata. The lawsuits are pending in four different U.S. District Courts. Each airbag recall lawsuit cites similar allegations, accusing Takata of manufacturing and selling defective airbags to automakers.

Approximately 8 million vehicles containing Takata airbags have been recalled in 2014. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has warned consumers that these airbags susceptible to over-inflation and explosion, which can cause potentially life-threatening injuries. Nearly every automaker has been impacted by this issue, but Honda has endured the most damage, as at least four deaths have transpired from airbags that have exploded in the vehicles.

Free consult with Maine product liability lawyers

Airbags are installed in your vehicle to enhance your safety, so the last thing you expect is for them to malfunction and cause you harm. If you had a defective Takata airbag in your vehicle that injured you or a passenger, rather than protecting you, it’s important to know your rights.

There is only a limited window of time to file a lawsuit, so it’s important to contact Maine product liability lawyers at Hardy, Wolf and Downing today for a free consultation. Our team can help you get the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering, medical bills and time away from work.

Pick up the phone and dial 1-800-INJURED to schedule a complimentary review of your case today.