Considering the fact that nearly 33.8 million vehicles in the United States alone are part of Takata Corp.’s recall, it would be a challenge to find someone here in Louisiana who has not heard about the potentially deadly airbags manufactured by the company. So far, there have been hundreds of injuries and at least five deaths in this country as a direct result of the defective airbags. However, that could change if it is confirmed that a seemingly survivable fatal accident on April 5 was due to a Takata airbag.
The victim’s mother recently filed a lawsuit alleging that the only serious — and ultimately fatal — injury her daughter suffered in the accident was from airbag shrapnel. On April 5, the Louisiana woman’s vehicle hit a utility pole and sustained a significant amount of damage. It is claimed that the airbag exploded and a piece of shrapnel slit her daughter’s throat. She succumbed to her injuries on April 9.
While she lay in the hospital dying, a recall notice for her vehicle was delivered on April 7. Even if she had received the recall notice sooner, there is no guarantee that the repairs would have been made in time to prevent her death. Due to the size of the recall, Takata is having trouble supplying automakers with the replacement parts, so automakers and dealerships are looking to other suppliers to obtain the parts they need.
That fact does not release Takata from liability, however. Companies who manufacture automobiles and their parts owe consumers a safe product. If the U.S. District Court in Lafayette rules that Takata’s defective product caused the victim’s (ultimately) fatal accident, monetary damages may be awarded.
Source: mlive.com, “Report: Louisiana woman could be 7th Takata airbag-related fatality“, David Muller, June 10, 2015