Japanese airbag manufacturer, Takata, is recalling about 1.4 million driver’s side airbag inflators in the United States because they could explode and hurl shrapnel into the vehicle compartment. According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, the airbags may also not inflate properly to protect people in a crash. This recall covers BMW, Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi vehicles made from 1995 to 2000.
Reports of Injuries and Fatalities
Unlike previous recalls, the inflators do not use ammonium nitrate to fill the airbags. Takata says in government documents that it made about 4.5 million of these inflators worldwide, but only a portion are still in use because the vehicles are so old. BMW has been telling owners of vehicles older than the 3-Series models that they should not drive them because of the potential dangers that the Takata airbag inflators have. The German automaker recalled more than 116,000 of the cars in the U.S. as part of a larger recall of the 1.4 million inflators by Takata, which is now bankrupt.
The BMW recalls come after a BMW driver in Australia was fatally injured by shrapnel hurled by the driver’s side airbag. BMW stated that another driver in Cyprus was injured as well. The BMW recall covers certain 3-Series cars in the United States from the 1999-2001 model years.
BMW is recommending that people do not drive their vehicles until repairs can be made. The airbag inflators in question were reportedly manufactured before March 15, 1999 and were not properly sealed. BMW said the driver of a 1998 3-Series car was killed as a result of the malfunctioning airbag. The injured driver in Cyprus was driving a 1998 3-Series vehicle.
If You Have Been Injured
Takata airbag inflators have caused not only fatalities but also severe and catastrophic injuries. There are still millions of vehicles out on our roadways equipped with these dangerous airbags. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a faulty Takata airbag inflator, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the automaker and the manufacturer of the defective airbag.
If you have lost a loved one, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship. An experienced airbag failure lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.