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Los Angeles Woman Identified As Eighth Takata Airbag Victim

takata airbagsJewel Brangman, a 26-year-old Los Angeles woman, has been identified as the eighth person killed by exploding airbags made by Takata Corporation. According to a KPCC news report, Brangman died in a crash September from neck and head injuries after the driver’s side airbag in her rented 2001 Honda Civic inflated with too much force and spewed metal shrapnel.

Honda and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) both said that they had determined the faulty airbagcaused Brangman’s death.

She is the seventh victim in the United States and the eighth worldwide including a woman in Malaysia.

Rental Car Not Repaired

Brangman reportedly rented the 2001 Honda Civic in San Diego and was driving in Los Angeles County when the crash occurred. The vehicle model she was driving was recalled in 2009, but not repaired even though the company sent four notices to its owners. Federal regulators are pointing to Brangman’s death as an example of why his agency wants authority to stop the sale of rental cars that have not been repaired. Her father, Alexander Brangman, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Honda, Takata and Sunset Car Rental LLC of San Diego. The Los Angeles wrongful death suit alleges that shrapnel from the defective airbag cut Brangman’s neck and caused a severe brain injury that eventually killed her.

More Vehicles Recalled

Over the last week, more automakers have been adding on vehicles to the recall list for defective Takata airbags.  GM added more than 243,000 Pontiac Vibes, which were designed by Toyota, to the list of cars being recalled for the air bag troubles. Toyota added 1.36 million cars Tuesday while Honda said it would add another 1.39 million cars for the same airbag inflator issue. Toyota is including its popular vehicle models such as Corolla, Tundra, Sequoia and Lexus while Honda is recalling Civic and Accord models.

Putting Consumers In Danger

The Takata airbags are putting millions of consumers in danger of injury and death. The manufacturer and automakers have done little to alleviate this problem. Rental car companies and used car dealers are adding to this complex issue by failing to repair recalled vehicles. Our hearts go out to Brangman’s family and the families of others who have been killed by the flying shrapnel from the faulty airbag inflators. As auto product liability lawyers who represent injured victims and their families, we are further disturbed by the fact that Takata continues to use ammonium nitrate, a chemical used in fertilizers, in its airbag inflators.

We are deeply concerned that Takata has not eliminated the source of the problem, which caused the fatalities and sparked this worldwide recall.

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