Discuss Your Legal Rights with an Experienced Takata Airbag Injury Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries caused by a defective Takata airbag, you are not alone—not even close. Since 2015, Takata has recalled tens of millions of airbags installed in vehicles sold by nearly all major automobile manufacturers. Takata’s defective airbags have caused hundreds of injuries, and many millions of drivers and passengers are still at risk of suffering a Takata airbag injury.
Drivers and passengers have suffered injuries caused by Takata airbag defects in all parts of the body. This includes face Takata airbag injuries as well as injuries to the chest, arms and legs. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a major concern with Takata airbag explosions as well. Regardless of the type of injury you have suffered, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation, and you should speak with a lawyer about your legal rights promptly.
How Do Takata Airbags Cause Injuries?
Takata airbags cause injuries when they explode during deployment. Rather than deploying as they are supposed to, some Takata airbags are literally exploding—sending plastic and metal fragments, and shrapnel flying toward drivers and passengers. The force of the explosion itself can cause serious injuries as well; and, along with hundreds of injuries, Takata’s defective airbags have also been blamed for at least 23 airbag deaths.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “exposure to high heat and humidity” can increase the risk of Tataka airbag explosions. As a result, while tens of millions of vehicle owners across the United States have cars, trucks and SUVs with defective Takata airbags, the NHTSA and vehicle manufacturers are prioritizing the replacement of dangerous airbags in certain states. The recall process is still several years away from being completed; and, as a result, many people continue to face the risk of suffering a Takata airbag injury due to a dangerous airbag explosion.
Common Injuries from Takata Airbags
Takata airbag explosions can leave drivers and passengers with multiple types of severe traumatic injuries. All types of injuries are eligible for compensation, and all injured drivers and passengers should speak with a lawyer about their legal rights. Some examples of the most common types of injuries from defective Takata airbags include:
Airbag Shrapnel Injuries
The force of a Takata airbag explosion can fracture steering wheel covers, dashboards and other plastic panels—sending plastic fragments flying throughout the cabin. Explosions can also send metal shards and other shrapnel from the airbag itself into drivers’ and passengers’ faces and bodies. Airbag shrapnel injuries will often require stitches or sutures, and they can leave drivers and passengers with permanent scarring and disfigurement.
The force of a Takata airbag explosion can cause arm injuries as well. If a driver is holding onto the steering wheel when an airbag explodes, the force of the explosion can cause fractures, burns and other forms of trauma. For passengers, arm injuries commonly occur when exploding airbags force their arms into windows, B-pillars, and other solid objects in the vehicle
Eye injuries from airbag explosions can result from shrapnel, chemical exposure, and blunt-force trauma. These injuries can have consequences ranging from temporary visual impairments to total blindness, and they can require treatment ranging from cleansing to surgery. Sadly, eye injuries caused by Takata airbag explosions will be permanent in some cases.
The force of impact from an exploding airbag can also cause serious, and potentially life-threatening chest injuries. These include chest wall injuries, collapsed lungs and broken ribs, among others. Seat belts can cause chest injuries during high-speed accidents as well, and chest pain, bruising, difficulty breathing, and tenderness to the touch are all signs that emergency medical treatment may be necessary.
Takata airbag injuries can include cuts, burns, fractures, and nerve and tissue damage to a victim’s face. Depending on the nature and severity of a facial injury, it can potentially have long-term (or permanent effects), including scarring and disfigurement. Drivers and passengers who suffer facial injuries will frequently suffer eye and ear injuries as well, and these injuries can require prompt and invasive treatment (including surgery) followed by a long road to recovery.
Leg injuries from Takata airbag explosions most often happen when passengers are riding with their feet on the dashboard. If a passenger has his or her legs on the dashboard when a frontal airbag explodes, the forces involved can be enough to break both hips, while also causing various other forms of trauma. These injuries may require surgery and a long recovery period as well, and passengers who suffer airbag-related leg injuries may suffer from chronic pain, limited mobility and other long-term complications.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
One of the greatest risks associated with Takata’s defective airbags is the risk of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The forces generated by an explosion are more than enough to cause a concussion, coup-contrecoup injury or another more-serious form of TBI. Anyone who experiences symptoms of a TBI (i.e., headaches, visual impairments, loss of consciousness, or difficulty sleeping) after an airbag explosion should seek treatment promptly. They should also talk to a lawyer about filing a claim for a Takata airbag injury.
Due to the risk of serious internal injuries, if you are experiencing pain or any other symptoms after an accident involving a Takata airbag deployment, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Not only is this important for your health, but it is also important for protecting your legal rights.
Fatal Injuries from Takata Airbag Explosions
While most Takata airbag injuries are not fatal, there are exceptions. Sadly, Takata’s defective airbags have been blamed for multiple deaths across the United States. Whether due to brain trauma, internal injuries, puncturing the carotid artery, cardiovascular complications or other causes, deaths linked to Takata’s defective airbags can devastate families, and they can leave spouses, children and other loved ones facing significant financial losses.
Along with Takata airbag injury cases, we also handle cases involving Takata airbag deaths. If you have lost a loved one due to a Takata airbag defect, it is important that you seek help. Our lawyers can explain your family’s legal rights in detail, and we can work to recover financial compensation on your family’s behalf.
Treatment Options (and Costs) for Takata Airbag Injuries
The treatment options for non-fatal Takata airbag injuries vary widely. Treatment options depend on both the nature and severity of a driver’s or passenger’s injury—with emergency treatment being necessary in some (but not all) cases. With this in mind, some examples of potential forms of treatment for Takata airbag injuries include:
- Rest and Rehabilitation – From concussions to soft tissue injuries, rest is a critical aspect of the recovery process for many types of airbag-related injuries. With adequate rest, the body can begin to heal, and then the rehabilitation process can begin.
- Surgery – In some cases, rest and rehabilitation won’t be enough. Torn muscles and tendons, severe bone fractures, severe burns, eye injuries, collapsed lungs, and many other types of airbag-related injuries will require surgery. When surgery is necessary, getting the necessary procedure promptly can be critical for mitigating the risk of long-term complications.
- Physical or Occupational Therapy – Regardless of whether surgery is necessary, physical and occupational therapy can also be essential forms of treatment for physical injuries caused by Takata airbag explosions. Strengthening the muscles, ligaments and tendons after an injury and regaining flexibility and mobility can be essential for returning to work and maintaining a good quality of life.
- Medications – Several forms of medication may be necessary during the recovery process. Your doctor may recommend pain medications, anti-inflammatory medications and other prescription drugs in order to manage your pain and facilitate the recovery process.
- Stitches, Sutures and Wound Care – Injuries such as severe lacerations and punctures may require stitches or sutures, as well as attentive wound care to prevent infections and other risks. Unfortunately, while these forms of treatment will be necessary in some cases, they can leave drivers and passengers with permanent scars.
While getting the treatment you need is essential, it can also be very expensive. Regardless of the type (or types) of care you need, your medical costs can add up quickly. Add to this your loss of income during the recovery process, and you can find yourself facing significant financial losses. Your lawyer can fight to recover these losses—while also seeking just compensation for your pain, suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Filing a Takata Airbag Injury Lawsuit
Recovering your losses from a Takata airbag injury will involve filing a lawsuit against Takata or your vehicle’s manufacturer. This requires experienced legal representation, and you will need to work with your lawyer throughout the process to maximize your chances of a full financial recovery. Here are five important facts about filing a Takata injury lawsuit:
- You Only Have a Limited Amount of Time to File – The statute of limitations establishes a strict deadline for filing a lawsuit for a Takata airbag injury. If you wait too long and the statute of limitations expires, you won’t be able to recover any financial compensation.
- The Sooner You Take Action, The Better – Even if you still have time before the statute of limitations expires, it is still best to take action as soon as possible. Unnecessary delays can make it harder to assert your legal rights; and, if you make mistakes before filing your lawsuit, this can also prevent you from recovering the financial compensation you deserve.
- You May Be Entitled to Significant Financial Compensation – The financial and non-financial costs of a Takata airbag injury can be substantial. You are entitled to just compensation for your current and future losses, and your future losses could far exceed the costs you have incurred to date.
- You May Be Able to Obtain an Out-of-Court Settlement – Many airbag injury lawsuits result in out-of-court settlements. If you have serious airbag injuries, you may receive a settlement offer before your case goes to trial. If you do, you will need to make an informed decision about whether to accept or keep fighting for more.
- Hiring a Lawyer is the First Step Toward Recovering Your Losses – No matter how long it has been since your injury or how much you are entitled to recover, consulting with a lawyer is the first step toward asserting your legal rights. Your lawyer may file a lawsuit on your behalf, negotiate for a favorable settlement, and take your case to trial if necessary.
It Costs Nothing Out-of-Pocket to Hire a Lawyer for a Takata Airbag Injury
Another important fact to know about seeking just compensation for a Takata airbag injury is that it costs nothing out-of-pocket to hire a lawyer. At Willis Law Firm Airbag Injury Lawyers, we represent all of our clients on a contingency-fee basis. With contingency-fee representation, you pay no up-front or monthly fees, and you pay nothing at all unless we help you obtain just compensation.
Do Not Let a Takata Airbag Injury Unnecessarily Impact Your Life
If you have been seriously injured by a defective Takata airbag, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is doing nothing. While hiring a lawyer can seem overwhelming, it is extremely important. It is also much more straightforward than most people realize.
At Willis Law Firm Airbag Injury Lawyers, we make the process of asserting your legal rights as easy as possible. We will explain everything you need to know, and we will handle most of the process on your behalf. We will help you make informed decisions, and we will work hard to make sure you feel comfortable and confident every step of the way.
FAQs: Filing a Takata Airbag Injury Claim
How Much Will I Get from the Takata Airbag Settlement?
Recovering financial compensation for injuries sustained due to a Takata airbag defect requires legal action. While Takata entered into a $1 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2017, only a relatively small portion of this was earmarked to compensate victims, and Takata filed for bankruptcy shortly after pleading guilty during the DOJ’s criminal probe. As a result, if you think that you may be entitled to financial compensation for a Takata airbag injury, you should speak with a lawyer about filing a claim as soon as possible.
If you have a claim, the amount you are entitled to recover depends on the effects of your (or your loved one’s) airbag related injuries. Generally speaking, victims of airbag-related injuries can seek compensation for their current and future medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other financial and non-financial losses. Families that have lost loved ones can seek compensation for their financial and non-financial losses as well. But, the value of your claim depends on your individual circumstances, and you will need to work closely with an experienced lawyer to determine how much you deserve to recover.
What Cars Are Affected by the Takata Airbag Recall?
Numerous cars are affected by the Takata airbag recall. The NHTSA maintains a running list of vehicles that are subject to recalls and that present risks for Takata airbag injuries. Automakers that have issued recalls related to Takata airbag defects include:
- Acura (Honda)
- Audi (VW)
- Cadillac (GM)
- Chevrolet (GM)
- Daimler Trucks North America (Sterling Bullet)
- Daimler Vans USA LLC (Sprinter)
- Dodge/Ram (Chrysler)
- Fisker (Karma)
- GMC (GM)
- Infiniti (Nissan)
- Jeep (Chrysler)
- Land Rover (Jaguar Land Rover)
- Lexus (Toyota)
- Lincoln (Ford)
- Mercury (Ford)
- Pontiac (GM)
- Saab (GM)
- Saturn (GM)
- Scion (Toyota)
If you have a vehicle from one of these manufacturers, you will need to review the NHTSA’s list to determine if your specific model (and model year) are subject to a recall. Alternatively, you can contact your vehicle’s manufacturer or your local dealership. If you need to get your vehicle’s airbags replaced, you will need to contact your vehicle’s manufacturer or your local dealership to schedule an appointment as well.
What was the Outcome of the Takata Airbag Case?
While Takata’s criminal case was resolved via a $1 billion settlement with the DOJ, lawsuits related to Takata’s defective airbags remain pending across the country. This includes not only lawsuits against Takata, but also lawsuits against auto manufacturers that sold vehicles equipped with Takata airbags. If you or a loved one was harmed by a Takata airbag, you should talk to a lawyer about filing a lawsuit as soon as possible.
What Defect was Found in Takata Airbags?
Takata’s defective airbags were equipped with faulty inflator mechanisms. These faulty inflators are prone to exploding without warning when exposed to moisture, and they can also explode violently during a collision instead of deploying safely. Tragically, the inflator defect in Takata’s airbags has been blamed for numerous injuries and dozens of fatalities.
Do You Have a Takata Airbag Injury Claim? Find Out for Free
Do you have a Takata airbag injury claim? Contact us to find out. Airbag injury lawyer, David P. Willis is a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer since 1988 and has been representing injured clients against product makers and the automobile manufacturers for 40+ years. To discuss your legal rights with Mr. Willis in confidence, call us or request a free consultation online today.