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Frustrated Airbag Recall Customers Sue Automakers

Jun 18, 2018

How long must customers wait for the replacement of recalled Takata airbags?

They’re mad as heck and they’re not gonna take it anymore. Class actions against two different automakers over an auto recall problem common to virtually all automakers indicates more suits will likely follow.

The Takata airbag auto recall is the largest in automotive history. The airbags are dangerous because the ammonium nitrate chemical propellant that deploys the airbags reportedly “can explode when it becomes unstable”, which can happen at high temperatures.

There have been approximately 21 deaths associated with the airbags, particularly in older model vehicles from warmer climates where the airbags have been exposed to hot temperatures over longer periods of time. Explosions can send metal shards like shrapnel directly into the cabin sometimes resulting in deadly face, head, and chest injuries to occupants, as we’ve previously reported on our blog.

As a result of the widespread recall and because a vehicle can be registered with an unrepaired recall, two big problems have resulted.

First is the difficulty getting recall notices into the hands of the current owners since many affected older models have changed hands repeatedly over the years.

The second problem is the inability or unwillingness of many automakers to timely offer the replacement airbag repairs, leaving drivers to play “Russian roulette” each time they get into their vehicles or to be unfairly penalized by the lost use of their sidelined cars.

With respect to the notification problems, Honda defects attorneys learned that Honda has reportedly taken the extraordinary measure of sending 550 teams out “physically knocking on the doors of customers about 600,000 times” searching for owners with outstanding Takata airbag recalls. The admirable house-calls effort is likely driven by estimates that of the 15 million recalled inflators in the United States to date, 18.5 million of them are reportedly in Honda and Acura vehicles. Plus, the majority of deaths attributed to defective Takata airbags have been in Honda vehicles.

With respect to the second problem, vehicle owners across different manufacturers are getting tired of waiting for the repairs and are afraid to drive their vehicles. They claim the automakers knew or should’ve known at least as early as 2003—when the first Takata inflator incident in a BMW reportedly happened—that the ammonium nitrate inflators were dangerous but continued to use them. They think loaner vehicles should be provided until the airbags can be replaced.

Recently, two separate proposed class-action lawsuits by frustrated Takata airbag vehicle owners have been commenced. One involves numerous GM vehicles spanning model years 2006–2015, and the other covers 20 Chrysler models between 2003-2012.

If you have a question regarding an auto recall or feel you may be driving a lemon because your relatively new car is constantly in the shop for the same stubborn repair, the Law Office of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help. Depending on your particular situation, you may be able to get a full refund of your down payment, trade-in, monthly payments and taxes, or a brand-new car for a cash settlement. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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