Takata Corp., a major Japanese air bag maker, is filing bankruptcy after being hit with a massive global recall. The recall, which is the largest automotive recall in U.S. history, centers on the company’s airbag inflators, which have been shown to fail dangerously, spraying the cabin of vehicles with metal shrapnel when set off. Over 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide, with approximately 69 million being in the U.S. An estimated 42 million vehicles in the U.S. have been affected. There have been 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries have been reported as a result of the defective part.
Takata will continue to make the replacement parts for the faulty inflators, and has reached out to rival auto parts makers to help them meet the demand for replacement parts. The installation of these parts is being handled by 19 affected automakers, including Toyota, Subaru, Ford, Tesla, Honda, Chrysler, Audi, and more. Because of the enormity of the recall, many car owners are facing long waits for replacement parts, while still driving cars that may have malfunctioning air bags.
In the midst of these recalls, Takata has filed for bankruptcy. The president of the company, Shigehisa Takada, feels that filing for bankruptcy is the company’s only option to keep up with the industry demand for replacement parts. A rival company, Key Safety Systems, is purchasing most of Takata’s assets. In an agreement with Key Safety Systems, much of Takata’s operations will continue to manufacture replacement parts for the recall.
Part of the sale proceeds of Takata’s assets will reportedly be used to reimburse automakers who have been affected by the recalls. At least $1 million of the profits from the sale are to be used to settle the criminal charges from the company covering up the dangers of the inflators. Of the settlement amount, $850 million is to reimburse the automakers. The company has already paid a $25 million fine to the U.S. Justice Department, and has created a $125 million fund for those injured by the defective parts.
Attorneys representing those injured by the inflators worry that the sum won’t be enough to justly compensate victims for their injuries and emotional trauma following the accident. The bankruptcy filing isn’t expected to affect the claims made against the automakers involved in the recalls. These settlements are expected to help speed the replacement of faulty parts and compensate drivers for economic losses. Settlement agreements have already won preliminary court approval for Toyota, Subaru, BMW, and Mazda. Claims are continuing in cases against Takata, Honda, Nissan, and Ford. Currently, courts are determining liability for Takata and various automakers for these injuries.
If your car is one of the affected cars, and you have been injured due to a faulty airbag, you may be able to file for compensation. Our Kansas City product liability attorneys will fight tirelessly for your claim, and help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. today at (888) 398-2277 to schedule a consultation with our team.