Today’s vehicles are safer than ever due to features like lane departure warnings, blind spot indicators, stability control, and backup cameras. But despite all the advanced bells and whistles in modern cars, nothing protects drivers and passengers better than seat belts and airbags. Of course, it’s a different story when one of those safety devices is defective—and that’s exactly what happened with airbags in millions of vehicles sold in the U.S.
On November 18, 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered Takata Corporation to initiate a nationwide recall of its airbags after it was discovered that they were defective and at risk of exploding and seriously injuring or even killing drivers and passengers during collisions. The recall affected millions of vehicles manufactured by the world’s biggest automakers, including Ford, GM, Honda, BMW, Audi, Nissan, Toyota, and more.
Millions of Americans took their vehicles to dealerships and other repair centers to get their defective airbags replaced as the recall list expanded during the past five years. However, in December 2019, a new group of defective airbags with a different type of inflator was recalled due to their risk of exploding or underinflating during collisions. Combined, both recalls affect between 65 and 70 million vehicles worldwide.
How to Find Out if Your Vehicle Is Affected by the Airbag Recall
Because the recall affects vehicles of virtually every make and model dating back to 2003 model years, there’s a good chance your vehicle is equipped with recalled Takata airbags. You can verify your vehicle’s recall status by visiting the NHTSA’s safercar.gov website or the NHTSA’s own website and entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Please note that not all vehicles affected by this new recall will show up in the NHTSA’s database. More vehicles will be added in the future as they are confirmed. You can sign up for the NHTSA’s Recall Alerts to be informed of new additions to the recall list as that information becomes available.
What Are Your Options If Your Airbags Are Recalled?
If your vehicle is affected, you should have received an email containing further instructions for getting your airbags replaced. If you didn’t receive the notice, discarded it, or don’t know what your next steps are, contact the service department at your local dealership for your vehicle’s manufacturer. Because of the dangers associated with the defective airbags, dealerships are required to provide free airbag replacements to owners of affected vehicles.
Ford and Mazda recommend that owners of 2006 model year Rangers and B-series pickup trucks not drive their vehicles at all unless their airbags have been replaced due to their likelihood of malfunctioning and causing serious injuries. In addition, some vehicle manufacturers recommend not allowing anyone to sit in the front passenger seats until replacements are completed. To reduce your risks and give you peace of mind, schedule your airbag replacement as soon as possible, and avoid driving your vehicle until the process is complete.
Hurt by a Defective Airbag? You May Be Eligible for Compensation.
Takata Corporation placed millions of Americans in danger due to its defective airbags. The number of Americans exposed to that risk is now known to be greater than ever before after the recall was expanded in December 2019. If you or someone you love was injured by an airbag that exploded on impact or failed to properly inflate, you may be eligible for compensation. The Louisiana defective product attorneys at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers hold negligent manufacturers accountable when their oversights injure or kill innocent consumers.
Can Auto Manufacturers Be Held Liable?
While almost all of the focus on these recalls is being directed towards Takata Corporation, auto manufacturers may also be considered negligent. Reports indicate that Takata was aware of defects in its airbags as early as 2000, and some automakers may have been aware of them as well. Because this recall is so huge and unprecedented, it’s important to have an experienced law firm on your side to determine if and how you may be able to get compensation.
At Dudley DeBosier, our attorneys aren’t afraid to go up against huge corporations when defending our clients. And we never leave our clients in the dark about the status of their claims. We strive to maintain open, honest, and frequent communication from day one until the day you get your check. Call today for a free consultation.
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