The Takata airbag recall is one of the largest in US history. It has affected millions of vehicles from a wide variety of automakers, and there’s a decent chance your car is on the list.
If you have been affected by a defective Takata airbag, you may be able to file a claim against the company. Here’s everything you need to know about taking this step.
The Takata Air Bag Recall
This case has already lasted over four years and affected millions of American drivers. What happened? Essentially, the air bag inflators were deemed defective after they played a role in the deaths of at least 23 passengers and injuries of 100 passengers of certain vehicles made in model years 2002 to 2015.
The airbags were determined to be defective because they carried a higher risk of exploding and sending shrapnel into the air. These metal shards could injure or kill passengers.
The NHTSA determined that airbags which use a propellent with ammonium nitrate, but without a drying agent, are susceptible to failure. High temperatures, moisture in the environment, and the age of the vehicle play into the risks for a potentially deadly explosion.
Nineteen major vehicle manufacturers, including Toyota, Lexus, General Motors, Ford, Honda and Acura, have issued their own recalls. A total of nearly 37 million vehicles have been recalled in the US alone.
About 50 million inflators need to be replaced. So many vehicles have been affected that Takata has filed for bankruptcy.
Some manufacturers are going to great lengths to make sure every vehicle is repaired. For example, Ford is offering dealers $1000 to track down each 2006 Ranger due to the elevated risk of deadly shrapnel flying from the exploding air bag. The Ford Ranger is one of the vehicles in the higher-risk category for dangerous explosions. You can see if your vehicle has been recalled by visiting www.safercar.gov and entering your vehicle identification number.
Airbags are known to save lives. In fact, they are estimated to have saved 37,000 lives between 1987 and 2012. However, if you were injured, or if your loved one was killed, by the faulty deployment of a Takata air bag, you may have rights to compensation.
Filing a Claim Against Takata in Florida
Personal injury victims or family members of deceased victims can use a centralized claim form to start the filing process. The form will submit a claim to three funds at the same time.
These funds are:
- Individual Restitution Fund
- Takata Airbag Tort Compensation Trust Fund
- Original Equipment Manufacturer Honda North America, Inc. Channeling Agreement Fund (if the incident was associated with a Honda vehicle)
Honda has agreed to pay 100 percent of compensatory damages and there is no deadline to apply. The form is available here and applies to cases of personal injury or wrongful death.
You may also choose to file a civil lawsuit for additional damages. Consult with a knowledgeable Florida attorney to learn in greater detail how these types of cases work and which way is the best course of action for you, so that you can ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation.
What Floridians Should Understand about the Extraordinary Circumstances Review
If your case involved any of the following situations, you can request an extraordinary circumstances review when you fill out the form:
- Special damages over $1.5 million
- Blindness in both eyes
- Traumatic brain injury
- Permanent profound hearing loss
- Loss of use of hand or limb over 50 percent
- Partial or full paralysis from spinal injury
- Permanent injury to surviving fetus
If any of these situations applies to you, it’s important to consult with an experienced lawyer before filing your claim. You want full compensation for these serious scenarios, because they can end up costing you millions in losses.
Feeling overwhelmed by the application process? That’s where an experienced attorney can help. He or she will know how to cut through the clutter and the legalese and make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting into and agreeing to. Additionally, they can help you amass and organize any evidence you might need to prove your claim, and won’t be afraid to fight if they believe you aren’t getting what you deserve.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.