A little more than a year after being responsible for the largest auto recall in U.S. history, Takata is once again in the news after a Senate report released Tuesday found internal documents that acknowledged data was manipulated on a number of occasions to benefit the company.
As of October 2016, 16 deaths and over 100 injuries have been linked to Takata airbags, and more than 60 million airbags contain a defect. 28 million airbags are recalled in the U.S. and the recall may expand to cover even more manufacturers.
Our firm is currently filing lawsuits on behalf of people cut by shrapnel ejected when their Takata airbags were deployed. Many victims do not realize that their laceration injuries were actually caused by Takata’s defective airbags, not their car crash. If you or someone you know was involved in a car accident in which the airbags were deployed and lacerations were sustained, please contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation to find out if you have a claim.
In one document from 2013, written on the heels of three deaths and series of recalls that covered millions of vehicles, a Takata manager wrote an internal memo warning that the company had used inaccurate information to determine the scope of the recall.
“I told the group that it seemed clear to me that the information used to set the range of the recall was, in one case, technically unsupportable, and in the other case, a likely misrepresentation of the production records,” he wrote. The information referenced by the manager in this statement was prepared for meetings with automakers to discuss how they were affected by that recall.
The release of the Senate report comes at a time when Takata cannot afford to look any worse.
In a report released Monday by Reuters, the news agency announced that 70 to 90 million more airbag inflators may contain ammonium nitrate based on internal documents and interviews with two former Takata managers. This would nearly quadruple the size of the current recall, which currently includes 29 million airbag inflators.
It is difficult to determine the exact number of vehicles this will affect because many vehicles have more than one inflator, and not always from the same manufacturer.
One of the managers interviewed for the story confirmed that “you have no way of knowing” which of the inflators pose a danger.
Takata was unwilling to comment when confronted with accusations that tens of millions of vehicles may still have inflators that put drivers at risk.
It must be noted that in the remaining vehicles with ammonium nitrate inflators not all the inflators pose an immediate danger. The cause of the airbag explosions stems from moisture interacting with ammonium nitrate that helps inflate the airbag, yet many newer models have a chemical drying agent that eliminates any issues with moisture.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is still reviewing all inflators with ammonium nitrate, but it has yet to find sufficient evidence to order car manufactures to issue a larger recall. In an agreement from November 2015, Takata and the NHSTA agreed that Takata had until 2019 to prove that ammonium nitrate is safe to use as an airbag inflator otherwise they would have to recall the remaining vehicles where that compound was used to inflate airbags.
However, it is difficult to give Takata the benefit of the doubt at this time, and it should be assumed that more vehicles will need to be recalled. Although it is unlikely that this will be necessary for all 90 million inflators it is safe to assume that at least some of the vehicles with the them will need to be recalled. The Senate’s reports findings coupled with those of Reuters illustrates how time and again Takata skewed information in its favor at the expense of consumers. They have shown nothing that should instill confidence in consumers that more recalls aren’t on their way.
The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan are currently filing lawsuits on behalf of those injured by Takata’s defective airbags. Some victims of Takata’s airbags do not realize their injuries were caused by exploding shrapnel from the airbag, though. If you were in a car accident in which your airbag deployed and you suffered cuts or lacerations, the injuries you sustained may have been caused by shrapnel from the airbag, not the accident.
These injuries were preventable, and If you would like to hold the company allegedly responsible for your injuries accountable, fill out a free, no obligation case evaluation form to find out if you are eligible to file a lawsuit.