For several years, consumers have followed with horror the news reports of auto airbags exploding in vehicles. The device most relied upon for safety in an automobile had become the weapon responsible for killing 16 people and injuring hundreds. Because of a design defect, the airbags manufactured by Takata tended to explode, sending shards of burning metal into the faces and bodies of the passengers. It did not take long before auto defect class actions began in California and across the country.
The defective airbags had been installed in cars of 19 auto manufacturers for numerous model years, leading to the country's largest recall, with 42 million vehicles affected. The supplier of the deadly airbags has since faced criminal charges. Takata recently filed for bankruptcy under the weight of billions in penalties and lawsuits.
Recently, Honda agreed to a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by U.S. owners of vehicles with Takata airbags. The car manufacturer agreed to pay $605 million dollars to car owners to cover the cost of a rental car while their airbags are replaced and $500 in payments and reimbursement for expenses resulting from the inconvenience of the recall. About 40 percent of Honda owners still have defective airbags to be replaced.
Auto defect class actions assist many car owners in covering the costs they incur, as well as compensating those who suffer injuries. However, these lawsuits also raise awareness of the seriousness of a defect and may hasten the removal of dangerous vehicles from the roads. Those seeking information about such issues can contact a California attorney with experience in successfully representing consumers injured by defective products.
Source: USA Today, "Honda owners to get up to $500 in Takata air bag deal", Nathan Bomey, Sept. 1, 2017