When you drive or ride in a car, you expect a certain level of safety, trusting the manufacturers of the vehicle and its related safety equipment to protect you in the case of a car accident. When this trust is breached, and you are injured as the result of a company’s negligence, you can hold the company accountable by seeking compensations for the injuries and damages you suffered. By doing so, corporations will stop putting their profits above the safety of the public, make the airbags safe, and prevent others from being seriously injured in the future.
If you have been injured by malfunctioning safety equipment, you may be eligible for a product liability claim. These types of injuries have become a major concern in recent years due to a record-setting auto safety equipment recall.
Massive Recall of Defective Airbags
Airbags are fairly standard pieces of safety equipment installed in modern cars. They are marketed as vital pieces of equipment that need to be installed in order to protect you and your loved ones when in a high-energy collision. However, this is not always the case. Crash data has shown that many airbags have been improperly designed, manufactured using cheap materials and inadequately tested. As a result, many people have died and been seriously injured through no fault of their own by these defects.
The Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata has become embroiled in a scandal involving defective airbag inflators, which are used in millions of vehicles around the world. It was found that the compounds the inflators used to deploy airbags can degrade when exposed to moisture and subjected to temperature fluctuations—causing airbags to rupture and send shrapnel flying throughout their vehicles.
These defective airbags have been linked to at least 17 deaths around the world, with 12 of these deaths occurring in the United States. Following the discovery of these defects, over 70 million airbags have been recalled around the world. The recall affected 42 million vehicles in the United States, which makes this the largest automotive recall that has occurred in the country.
In addition to the recall, Takata was also charged with criminal fraud for attempting to cover up their faulty airbags. The company pled guilty to these charges in February 2017 and was ordered to pay a settlement of over $1 billion, including $850 million to automakers, $125 million to victims, and a $25 million fine to the U.S. government. As a result of this settlement and the costs of the ongoing recall, the company has filed for bankruptcy.
Recovering Damages for Defective Products in Cook County
If you have been in a serious motor vehicle collision and the airbags failed to deploy, you must take certain steps to ensure that you are able to receive compensation for damages. For example, make sure that the car is preserved and protected so that air bag safety experts can inspect the car at a later date. You should also contact an experienced product liability attorney as soon as possible to start investigating why your airbag failed to deploy.
At Pullano & Siporin, our experienced attorneys work with experts throughout the country to investigate your case and to hold manufacturers accountable for the injuries you have suffered. Contact one of our Chicago product liability lawyers today at 312-551-1100 to schedule a free consultation.