Honda Reports 20th Fatality Linked to Faulty Takata Airbags
A Las Vegas woman is suing Honda and Takata saying that a recalled airbag inflator that ended up in her car nearly killed her. According to an Associated Press news report, Karina Dorado, 18, was behind the wheel of her Honda Accord two months ago when she got into an accident. Her airbag deployed and sent shards of metal into her throat puncturing her trachea. She was rushed to a trauma center where surgeons removed pieces of metal that damaged her vocal cords. She is still being treated for neck injuries and is slowly regaining her voice.
Dorado is among nearly 200 people who have been injured or killed by these faulty Takata airbag inflators, which could explode and send shrapnel flying inside the vehicle compartment. This happens because the propellant inside the airbag inflators deteriorates with heat and humidity. The question in Dorado’s case is how the inflator, which is subject to a massive recall, made its way into her Accord.
Faulty Airbag Slips Through the Cracks
Dorado’s father, Jose, apparently bought the car for his daughter in March 2016 so she could get to and from her job at a call center. The family had no idea about the car’s history including the fact that it was involved in a car accident in Arizona and was declared a total loss by an insurance company.
The car was given a salvage title, repaired and then resold in Las Vegas. The airbag in Dorado’s car was removed from another 2001 Accord, which was never repaired for the airbag recall, and then stuck into her car. It is legal for auto parts subject to recall to be pulled out of wrecked cars and sold by junkyards to repair shops that may not even be aware of the dangers. The defective Takata airbags have led to the recall of 100 million vehicles globally.
A Systemic Failure
This is a horrific incident that should have never happened. The family’s attorney says even if Karina Dorado’s father had run the Honda Accord’s vehicle identification number on the government’s database, he couldn’t have known about the faulty airbag because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website says the car has zero outstanding recalls. Meanwhile, Dorado still has a hole in her trachea and will require speech therapy to get her voice back.
Her story is a stark reminder to all of us that we should be suspicious of cars with salvage titles because you never know where the parts came from. And no one can really vouch for the quality of the parts or the repair work. If you are in the market for a used car, buy a vehicle that has no crash history, if possible. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective auto, contact an experienced auto defect lawyer who will fight for your rights and hold the automaker or other at-fault parties accountable.