In what might turn out to be a record civil punishment in the automobile industry, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration came down hard on the Takata Corporation regarding its production of airbags that have been deemed hazardous for use. The apparently defective products are known to rupture and suddenly explode, causing metal fragments and pieces of the device to spray through the air. Many vehicles in Florida were surely among the more than 19 million that were recalled in the United States because they contained the potentially dangerous airbags.
Up to $200 million in fines have been issued against the manufacturers. Some $130 million of that will be paid if the company does not comply with a consent form that was also issued. The consent form requires Takata to phase out its use of an ammonium nitrate propellant used to inflate the airbags. This chemical is thought to be the main cause of the ruptures and explosions.
At least eight people died and more than 100 suffered injuries due to Takata airbags that failed. Honda Motors recently dropped Takata as a supplier, claiming that the manufacturing company allowed test data to be manipulated when disclosed. Takata denied the accusation, saying that it simply did not report all the data.
There is legal help available in Florida for those who are injured or become ill after using defective products. Many times, an injury or illness results in the need for ongoing medical care. This can burden a consumer with undue financial debt. An experienced personal injury lawyer is able to file a products liability claim in a civil court in order to seek compensation for damages sustained due to problems caused by a faulty product.
Source: The New York Times, “Honda Drops Takata as U.S. Issues Huge Fine Over Airbags“, Hiroko Tabuchi, Nov. 3, 2015