In a surprising admission, car maker Honda has revealed that it knew about
the defective Takata airbags in its cars as early as 2009, years before
it issued any recalls related to the airbags. It is now unclear whether
or not the company will now also become liable for injuries resulting
from the dangerous bags-- which have mostly been documented in their vehicle
models in the U.S.
As CNBC reports, Honda confirmed that it "quietly" requested airbag changes
from Takata due to their defects in August 2009. Injuries and even a death
had already been attributed to the bags by that date. Honda failed to
notify U.S. regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
about the request, a direct violation of the law. The company maintains
that the Takata request "was not an acknowledgement of a larger design
flaw in the inflators," and that the diligence was only to "protect
against the possibility of future manufacturing errors."
Few legal experts see the wisdom in that statement, however. "You
can't say, 'It's a supplier problem, not ours, so we don't
have to talk about it," said Peter Henning, a corporate law professor
at Wayne State University. "They are responsible for every part on
their car and also responsible to report a problem with any part on that
"[Honda] made a determination of a defect when they asked for the
fail-safe design," said John Kristensen, a west coast product liability
lawyer. "They had an obligation to tell the government back in 2009.
Good luck defending that."
Ongoing Effort to Replace Airbags
Nine deaths and hundreds of injuries have been linked to Takata's airbags
in the U.S. Honda is hardly the only car maker affected: Toyota, BMW,
Dodge, Ford, Nissan, Chrysler, and numerous other major car makers used
the bags in their recent car models. Millions of vehicles worldwide have
been recalled, but suppliers and manufacturers are struggling to keep
up with the demand.
The issue lies in the airbag inflator: the defective design made is so
that, when some of the airbags deploy, they do so with too much force.
The explosion then sends shrapnel through the cabin of the car, putting
the driver and any passengers at significant risk of serious, even life-threatening
injury. There are currently more than 100 federal and state lawsuits against
Takata in the U.S.
If you or a loved has been hurt by a Takata airbag, then you may have the
grounds to seek compensation. Contact our dedicated and knowledgeable
Greenville product liability attorneys at
Christian & Davis LLC today to start exploring your legal options. Call