Japanese automaker Honda has agreed to pay $96.5 million to settle an investigation centered on defective Takata airbags in its vehicles. According to a CBS news report, the lawsuits came from the attorneys general in 46 states, three U.S. territories and Washington D.C. The settlement concludes an investigation into the automaker’s alleged failure to inform government regulators and consumers about a risk of rupture in the front airbags, designed and made by Takata Corp. When the airbags ruptured, they could send metal fragments flying into the passenger compartment. At least 14 people have died in the U.S. from ruptured Takata airbags and more than 200 have been injured.
What the Settlement Does
State prosecutors say they are pleased that Honda’s settlement agreement includes the implementation of new safety protocols to protect drivers and passengers. Honda has agreed to upgrade its airbag safety procedures in a way to reduce the risk of ruptures. Honda has recalled about 12.9 million Honda and Acura vehicles that have been equipped with these defective Takata airbag inflators.
The company said in a prepared statement that it would notify states of any new faulty airbags going forward. Of the $96.5 million settlement, about $1 million will go to the National Association of Attorneys General while $11.3 million will go to the state of California. The remaining $84 million will settle each jurisdiction’s lawsuit.
This investigation has been ongoing since December 2015. In 2016, Takata airbags became the largest auto part recall in U.S. history. Researchers determined that cars with a particular airbag design were prone to water seeping in and that vehicles in hot and humid conditions were most at risk of a rupture. Many of the airbag victims were driving a Honda Accord, according to federal regulators. Honda customers are also entitled to restitution for injuries or damages from defective airbags under a separate class action settlement.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of these dangerous and defective autos and auto products, please contact an experienced auto defect attorney who is currently handling Takata airbag lawsuits to obtain more information about your legal rights and options. You may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress.