Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog

Air Bags Ejecting Metal Fragments Cause Fatal Injuries for Drivers and Passengers

Air Bags Ejecting Metal Fragments Cause Fatal Injuries for Drivers and PassengersAutomakers are recalling millions of vehicles due to allegedly defective air bags which shoot out metal shards when they activate, severely injuring drivers and passengers. The alleged faulty air bags are manufactured by Japanese supplier Takata Corp., whose stock shares The New York Times reports have dropped 23 percent in the Tokyo exchange as a result of this widespread air bag issue.

Ongoing investigations by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are currently taking place. To date, USA Today reports that at least 7.78 million vehicles have been recalled in the U.S. for the defective air bags.

On September 29, 2014, The New York Times reported that Hien Tran of Orlando, Florida was killed in an auto accident when she hit a Dodge Sedan while turning in front of oncoming traffic. The deadly injuries Tran suffered in the accident looked “like stab wounds in her neck,” according to detectives (who thought the wounds indicated that this was a homicide case).

Subsequently, links between Ms. Tran’s death and the Takata air bag in her 2001 Honda Accord emerged when a letter from the automaker was discovered, urging Tran to get her car fixed because of defective air bags. Instead of protecting Tran in the accident, the airbag inflater mechanism exploded upon activation, sending pieces of metal shrapnel directly towards Ms. Tran and killing her.

Robert J. Nelson on the rights of owners of vehicles with defective Takata airbags

According to CBS News, at least 4 deaths and 30 injuries have been linked to the defective Takata air bags. 139 injuries have been reported by various automakers, with 37 people claiming that the air bag ruptured and sent out metal fragments, as investigated by The New York Times.NHTSA advises owners of vehicles on the Takata airbag recall list to act immediately to get their airbags replaced.

The warning is highlighted for those with high-risk vehicles because they live in regions with high humidity, such as: Florida, Puerto Rico, certain areas near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, and Hawaii. Below is a current NHTSA list of U.S. vehicles affected by the Takata air bags:

BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 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: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 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: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles

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

General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles

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

Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles

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

Mazda: 64,872 total number of potentially affected vehicles

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

Mitsubishi: 11,985 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2004 – 2005 Lancer
  • 2006 – 2007 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima
  • 2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2002 – 2006 Nissan Sentra
  • 2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35
  • 2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
  • 2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45
  • 2006 – Infiniti M. M35, M45

Subaru: 17,516 total number of potentially affected vehicles

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

Toyota: 877,000 total number of potentially affected vehicles

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

Contact National Plaintiff Injury Attorneys

If you or a family member have been injured in an accident linked to a faulty air bag, we invite you to contact a personal injury attorney at Lieff Cabraser for a free, no-obligation review of your case. Or call us toll-free at 1-800-541-7358 and ask to speak with auto accident attorney Fabrice Vincent.