Honda has settled a wrongful death lawsuit involving an airbag that exploded after a minor automobile accident. The public believes that airbags are supposed to save lives, so when airbag injuries result in serious harm, or death, to vehicle occupants, folks are always shocked and greatly surprised. The settlement in this case was for the family of a woman who died when her airbag exploded. The victim, Guddi Rathore, bled to death when her airbag exploded after what was described as a minor fender bender. The explosion sent metal debris into the vehicle the woman was driving, cutting her neck and severing her arteries.
Mrs. Rathore’s family settled with Honda for $3 million. Although the settlement is with Honda, a company called Takata – which supplies airbags and seatbelts – actually will pay the amount of the settlement. Each of Mrs. Rathore’s three children, who were in the car at the time of the accident, will receive $567,000 when they reach 18 years of age.
As lawyers in our firm know all too well, airbag recalls continue to affect automobile manufacturers. In January 2013, Toyota recalled more than 850,000 vehicles for airbag defects. Affected by the recall were 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe models, and 2003-2004 Toyota Corolla and Toyota Matrix models. According to the company, there was a defect in some of the airbags that could cause the airbag to deploy without any impact, exposing vehicle occupants to a risk of injury. In January, Honda recalled approximately 750,000 vehicles because the airbags were missing rivets, which could potentially cause injury to the driver. Fortunately, there were no injuries reported related to the two recalls. But in some cases, recalls have been announced after injuries occurred.
USA Today reported that to date in 2013 more than 1.5 million Honda and Toyota vehicles have been recalled due to airbag-related problems. In 2012, there were 22 separate recalls announced. The increase in recalls has been blamed on more airbags being put into cars and more sophisticated systems being used to operate the airbags. Among the problems with defective airbags are:
Any one of these situations exposes the driver and passengers in vehicles to additional risk of injury and even death. Obviously, this is a most serious problem and one that must be dealt with by both NHTSA and the automobile industry.
Source: USA Today
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