Five of at least one dozen lawsuits filed on behalf of victims of Takata airbags were settled confidentially before relevant information could be revealed in court, according to Bloomberg.
Further information has been revealed that at least one other case is being reviewed for a possible settlement, another is in mediation and another has been dropped.
Most of the details surrounding defective Takata airbags are murky. Some safety advocates blame Honda for failing to recall vehicles with these defective airbags quickly enough while others blame the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to investigate Takata properly back in 2009.
The family of Hien Tran has filed a lawsuit against Takata Corp. and Honda Motor Co. alleging that Honda told car dealers not to recall defective Takata airbags. “Because not all part numbers are available in abundant supply, American Honda asks that dealers do not proactively contact customers at this time,” the company’s technical division wrote in a message. The statement from Honda was sent out just one week before the Florida woman was killed when her airbag exploded.
The cuts on Tran’s neck after a low-speed auto accident in her 2001 Honda Accord were similar to knife wounds. She suffered from “stab-type wounds” on her neck, face and torso. Investigators eventually determined that shrapnel from the defective airbag caused these severe injuries.
Bloomberg details at least two settlements in 2009 that were linked to defective airbags. In 2011, another lawsuit settled in Georgia involved a woman whose carotid artery was cut when her airbag unexpectedly exploded. The victim lived, but has suffered immensely following the airbag incident.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has planned a hearing for Nov. 20 to focus on how so many defective airbags became installed in so many vehicles, and how federal regulators and automakers have responded to this situation.
Takata Corp. has not commented on the confidential settlements. However, the company is still facing a criminal investigation and will likely encounter many more lawsuits in time.
A Baton Rouge injury lawyer at Simien & Simien will continue to monitor the latest developments in this saga. If you or someone you love has been injured by a Takata airbag, contact us for a free case review – you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim.
Call us today at (800) 374-8422 or fill out our Free Case Evaluation form.