Airbags Are Supposed to Save Lives – Not Endanger Them

 

When you think about airbags, you probably imagine someone being cushioned from a damaging collision. The airbag is an innovation that has saved countless lives over the years and protected even more people from catastrophic injury.

 

But over the past year, more and more information has come out out about malfunctioning airbags from Takata Corp in Japan. Airbags that can literally explode and shoot metal shrapnel into the passenger compartment. It’s an issue that has impacted around 17 million vehicles around the world, and the numbers just keep growing.

A few weeks ago, the federal government even called for a nationwide recall of all vehicles using Takata airbags. To say that people are scared would be putting it mildly.

 

Why Is This Defect Worse than Others in Recent Memory?

 

Automotive recalls and defects are nothing new. They happen all the time, and many are even downright frightening. Just in the past few years we’ve had to deal with Toyota’s problem accelerator, which prevented people from slowing down and led to nine million recalls, Ford’s fire-prone cruise control, which forced them to recall almost 15 million vehicles, and GM’s faulty ignition switch, which has killed 36 and caused 2.6 million recalls.

 

So why do exploding airbags seem to have caught our collective attention so much more readily than car accidents caused by other defects? Perhaps it’s because the the very thing that is supposed to be protecting us is causing us harm. It’s not just that a part isn’t working – it’s actively harming people, and in some cases even killing them.

 

Floridians should be especially aware of this issue, because climates that are hot and damp like ours are known to make the problem worse by causing the propellant to deteriorate and make an explosion more likely.

 

Beyond the fact that something designed to keep us safe is now hurting people, this isn’t an issue limited to one automaker. There are, in fact, 13 car manufacturers that use Takata airbags and dozens of models. You can see all of the affected cars here, but below you’ll find a list of the majority of models that are impacted.

 

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BMW

  • 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
  • 2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
  • 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
  • 2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
  • 2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
  • 2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

 

Chrysler

  • 2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
  • 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
  • 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
  • 2008 – Dodge Ram 5500
  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango
  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota
  • 2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300
  • 2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen

 

Ford

  • 2004 – Ranger
  • 2005 – 2006 GT
  • 2005 – 2007 Mustang

 

General Motors

  • 2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe
  • 2005 – Saab 9-2X

 

Honda

  • 2001 – 2007 Honda Accord
  • 2001 – 2002 Honda Accord
  • 2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
  • 2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
  • 2003 – 2011 Honda Element
  • 2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
  • 2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
  • 2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
  • 2006 – Honda Ridgeline
  • 2005 – Acura RL

 

Mazda

  • 2003 – 2007 Mazda6
  • 2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6
  • 2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8
  • 2004 – 2005 MPV
  • 2004 – B-Series Truck

 

Mitsubishi

  • 2004 – 2005 Lancer
  • 2006 – 2007 Raider

 

Nissan

  • 2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima
  • 2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra
  • 2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35
  • 2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
  • 2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

 

Subaru

  • 2003 – 2005 Baja
  • 2003 – 2005 Legacy
  • 2003 – 2005 Outback
  • 2004 – 2005 Impreza

 

Toyota

  • 2002 – 2005 Lexus SC
  • 2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla
  • 2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix
  • 2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra

 

What to Do If Your Airbag Explodes

 

No one wants to be injured in a car accident, but when you’re hurt by something in your own vehicle that you were trusting to protect you, somehow it seems that much worse. You might feel scared, angry, or even just numb, but if you want to ensure that everyone involved gets out okay and you don’t have to pay for someone else’s negligence, there are several things you should do.

 

Seek medical attention. The shrapnel from Takata’s exploding airbags can cause serious injuries to the face and chest areas of anyone sitting in the passenger seat, but others in the car aren’t immune. Your first course of action should be to make sure that everyone is okay, and that means getting checked out by a medical professional just in case there are problems you don’t immediately notice.

 

Document everything. If you are able to do so, take pictures of the accident and the airbag, so you have evidence of how it malfunctioned and the injuries it caused. Some evidence may disappear if you don’t capture it immediately. The sooner you can record it, the better.

 

Call a personal injury lawyer. When you’re hurt or someone you love is killed due to a defective part, the company responsible should go out of its way to ease your burden as much as possible and make reparations. Unfortunately, the opposite is often true. They will attempt to deny their role in the travesty and hide behind their team of high-priced attorneys to avoid giving you what you deserve.

 

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That’s why you need someone knowledgeable on your side who’s just as willing to fight, and who isn’t afraid to take on giant corporations. The sooner your legal team is on the case, the better your chances of winning your suit and getting justice.

 

About the Author:

 

Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Lawlor Winston White & Murphy. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”

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