Buying a car, truck, or SUV in 2020 means having access to safety features that were either unthinkable a few decades ago or only available on high-end luxury vehicles. Today’s vehicles are equipped with lane departure warnings, blind spot indicators, stability control, standard backup cameras, and more. These features keep drivers, passengers, and others on the road or nearby safer than ever before. However, no safety devices are as effective at reducing the risk of injuries and death during crashes as seat belts and airbags—except when they’re defective, that is.
Airbags are supposed to inflate to protect drivers and passengers during crashes by cushioning the impact with steering wheels, dashboards, doors, and seats. But millions of vehicles in America manufactured since 2003 have been equipped with airbags that have the possibility of exploding on impact or failing to properly inflate. Those defective airbags have already injured or killed dozens of Americans, necessitating the largest consumer product recall in history.
The first stage of the recall began in November 2014 when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required Takata Corporation to recall its airbags after discovering their defectiveness. In December 2019, the recall was expanded to include another type of Takata airbag that also posed risks to drivers and passengers. Both recalls combined affect between 65 and 70 million vehicles worldwide.
Because Takata airbags are installed in most vehicles made since 2003 by virtually every major automaker, including Ford, GM, Honda, BMW, Audi, Nissan, Toyota, and more, there’s a good chance your vehicle is affected by this massive airbag recall. If it is part of the recall, you were supposed to receive an email from the manufacturer.
If you didn’t receive it, misplaced it, or are unsure of what to do next, you can visit the NHTSA’s safercar.gov website or the NHTSA’s own website and enter your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). However, note that the new, December 2019 recall has just begun, and not all affected vehicles have been added to the database. That means more vehicles may be added in the future. To stay up to date, sign up for the NHTSA’s Recall Alerts subscription system.
If you find out that your vehicle is part of the recall, your first priority should be getting the defective airbags replaced. Because the airbags pose a serious safety risk to drivers and passengers, vehicle manufacturers are replacing them for free. Call the service department at your local dealership for your vehicle’s manufacturer and schedule a free replacement as soon as possible. Many are including additional perks such as free inspections to encourage customers to bring in their vehicles.
While the risks of airbags exploding or underinflating is relatively low, it’s still a possibility, and that’s why this recall should be taken seriously. Avoid driving your vehicle unless you absolutely must until you have the replacement performed and avoid allowing passengers to ride in the front seat. Finally, be extra cautious and waste no time scheduling a replacement for 2006 model year Ford Ranger and Mazda B-series pickup trucks, as their airbags are considered particularly likely to be defective.
When products are unsafe and put innocent people at risk, manufacturers should be held liable for any injuries that occur. That’s true whether the product in question is a medical device, a child’s toy, or a vehicle component. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our Indiana defective product lawyers know that Takata Corporation and certain automakers may have been aware of the dangers these airbags posed to drivers and passengers for years—even decades—and we want to hold them accountable if their negligence hurt you.
It’s our goal to get injured victims’ maximum compensation for their medical bills and lost wages after injuries, even when that means going up against big corporations. You shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for injuries that aren’t your fault, and it’s up to us to ensure you don’t. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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The financial burden that often comes with a serious injury can be too much for many people to bear. Unexpected medical debt, damaged personal property, and the sudden loss of income can impact the budgets of most families. The good news is that a successful injury claim could help reduce that financial strain after a serious accident. Get in touch with a Terre Haute personal injury lawyer with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin to learn more.
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