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Lawsuit Says Recalled Takata Airbags Still in Used Cars

A defective Takata airbag went from a wrecked car to a salvage yard and eventually found its way into a 2002 Honda Accord nearly killing a Las Vegas woman, according to a lawsuit filed by the victim. A USA Today article states that the Accord had been fixed up and sold in March of 2016 to the family of Karina Dorado, a 19-year-old woman whose trachea was punctured by shrapnel spewed by the faulty airbag. The family states in the lawsuit that they were never informed that the airbag was subject to a recall.

The lawsuit has details about how the airbag got into the Accord shedding light on the shady world of auto parts recycling. It is not quite clear how many defective Takata inflators are being used in refurbished vehicles. But Honda, which was once Takata’s biggest customers, says it has bought thousands of them from salvage yards to keep them off the road. Safety advocates say here is no good way to track the movement of these airbags. Selling a recalled auto part is illegal under a 2000 federal law. But, this law is rarely enforced.

Takata Airbag Gets into Refurbished Car

The lawsuit filed by Dorado alleges that in June of 2015, a salvage yard in Henderson bought a 2001 Accord to sell off the parts. A month before that, two related Las Vegas companies purchased a 2002 Accord that was involved in a crash in Arizona and declared a total loss. Between June and September 2015, the company in Henderson sold the driver’s airbag assembly to the company that purchased the 2002 Accord from Arizona.

In March of 2016, the company sold the refurbished Accord, now fitted with the faulty airbag, to Dorado’s father. But the company failed to warn him that the car had an airbag that had been recalled. The accident involving Karina Dorado occurred a year later when her Accord was hit by another car and the airbags deployed. She spent several days in a trauma center. Her voice is changed and would still need more surgeries.

Auto Product Liability Issues

Defective Takata airbag inflators have claimed 19 deaths worldwide and caused more than 180 injuries. They have led to the largest auto recall in U.S. history involving nearly 70 million vehicles. The airbag manufacturer uses ammonium nitrate in its inflators to create a small explosion, which inflates the airbags in a crash. However, the chemical can deteriorate over time especially in hot and humid conditions. It could then burn too fast blowing apart a metal canister and sending shards of metal flying into the passenger compartment.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective Takata airbag inflator, please remember that you do have legal rights. Contact an experienced auto product liability attorney to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.

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