Auto manufacturers across the United States have always faced problems and issues regarding the vehicles and parts they produce to the general public. As a result, courts have continued to administer punishment in response to each unfortunate accident or situation that occurs from these defects and mistakes. In fact, just recently a settlement was negotiated between a group of plaintiffs and several car manufacturers in regards to a lawsuit that involved defective airbag inflators.
The Issue with the Bags
The bags were made by Takata and installed across many automobiles of different manufacturers. The dangerous issue at hand involved the faulty airbags rupturing and expelling out debris at the driver and the driver’s passengers. The force from the airbag inflator was so great that the rupturs caused serious injury to the passengers and heavy damage to the car’s cabin interior. As a result of the defective machine, at least sixteen individuals have died as a result of the defective airbag inflator according to NPR news.
Auto Manufacturers Paying Out
In terms of which automakers were contracted with Takata to use their airbag inflators, Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and BMW were subjected to pay out over $553 million in order to cover for the recall of over 16 million vehicles that have been distributed across the United States. Other automaker companies such as Honda, Ford and Nissan are still pending and awaiting the final terms to be negotiated on before most likely settling on the terms and conditions.
However, what is interesting is that the $553 million payout money will not be used to compensate in damages for the personal injuries or property damages incurred from the faulty device. Instead, the payout money will be directed to compensate owners of cars that have the defective airbag inflator in them by providing temporary rental cars for the owners to use while they wait for their car’s airbag mechanism to be replaced.
The Problems Keep Coming
Although a settlement has been reached between some of the auto manufacturers and their customers, this does not mean auto maker companies are clean of all liability. In the past, automobile manufacturers have faced issues of wire fraud, failures to administer remedial damages to victims, misleading customers and US regulators, and face hundreds upon hundreds of class action lawsuits with regards to their vehicles. With the fraud and mistakes ever growing in the auto industry, this issue of the defected airbag inflators, though settled, demonstrates the need for major reform by the government to address the conditions of this industry.