A regular maintenance routine is the best way to stay vigilant of any possible defects in your vehicle. However, many defects go undetected and the driver may only become aware of one after it’s caused an accident.
Defective Takata Airbags Take Lives
In February 2017, Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata pleaded guilty to fraud charges filed by the United States Justice Department. This plea is part of a nearly $1 billion compensation deal for injury victims and auto manufacturers affected by Takata’s defective airbags. Over 100 million Takata airbags have been recalled, but not before causing the deaths of at least 16 people.
Officials allege that Takata was aware of the defects, and falsified test results in order to conceal them. Investigators found that some of these airbag inflators had the potential to explode and shoot metal debris throughout the car cabin, resulting in serious injuries or even death.
Ten American auto manufacturers have recalled 31 million cars because of this defect - making this the largest recall of all time. Takata executives placed corporate profits over the well-being of the drivers injured or killed by their product. This case proves that consumers must be aware of the potential for deadly vehicle malfunctions.
Legal Options For Victims
When you purchase a vehicle, you enter into an implicit contract with the manufacturer. In exchange for your money, they are supposed to provide you with a product which meets certain safety standards. If this product has any defects, the manufacturer is required to notify you, whether current or discovered in the future.
Takata is perhaps the most egregious example of a company’s negligence in disclosing a serious defect in one of their products. Product liability lawsuits help to protect consumers in this type of situation by holding businesses financially (and sometimes criminally) liable for any injuries sustained from a defective product. Compensation may also be awarded for lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.
First Steps In A Product Liability Lawsuit
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident which you believe was caused by a defective product, it’s important to act quickly. There are a few crucial first steps anyone in this situation should take:
- Take pictures and video - Gather plenty of photographic evidence by snapping photos and video of your vehicle and the accident scene.
- Keep tabs on your vehicle - Keep track of your vehicle’s location at all times. Your lawyer will want to examine it for possible defects.
- Contact an attorney ASAP - It’s important to promptly contact a lawyer so that he can have your car inspected and determine possible causes of the accident. If possible, do this before having repairs done.
Product liability lawsuits are very complex. Your attorney can assist you by consulting experts and compiling evidence against the manufacturer of the defective product.
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