Following the largest recall in the United States automotive industry, Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. has pleaded guilty to fraud and will now pay $1 billion dollars in penalties. The decision comes following an international scandal which also included allegations that five major automakers continued to use the defective devices despite learning of their dangers.
Takata was aware of the potential for the devices to explode which sent shrapnel into passengers and drivers of motor vehicles. As many as 16 people have been killed from the defect, including 11 Americans, and over 180 victims have been injured across the world. AS many as 42 million motor vehicles had the airbag inflators installed, amounting to as many as 100 million devices worldwide. The fine will include $125 million dollars to victims and families of victims, $850 in restitutions to automakers and a criminal fine of $25 million dollars.
An additional suit was filed last Monday in Miami, Florida, against automakers BMW, Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota citing that the automakers were aware of the potential dangers to their customers but continued to use the devices to save money. The automakers claim, however, that Takata deceived them and that they should not be liable. It remains to be seen how the new products liability suit will play out in court.
Products in the United States and throughout the world that are dangerous could be liable if a consumer is injured or killed during use of the product. If you believe that you have been injured from a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury.
Source: ABC News, “Takata pleads guilty in air bag scandal, agrees to pay $1B,” By Tom Krisher and Ed White, Feb. 27, 2017