Takata Strikes Again
An investigation is underway after the 13th death attributed to a faulty Takata airbag unit.
Nichol Barker Pahlck, a 34-year-old mother of three, was killed in an accident in Holiday, Florida, when a woman driving a Pontiac Firebird crossed in front of her 2002 Honda Accord, causing the collision and airbag deployment. Nichol and her three passengers were wearing seat belts. They incurred only minor injuries, but she died from head trauma caused by the airbag. Honda stated it is awaiting the formal cause of death and expressed condolences to the family.
Since 2011, that Honda Accord has been on the list for recall to replace the front airbag inflator. Honda claims to have sent a total of 21 recall notices by mail to all registered owners, as well as attempting to notify them via phone and through email.
Larry Pahlck, Nichol’s husband, said that they were not aware of the recall, as they had moved several times since acquiring the vehicle. Pahlck explained that if they were aware of the problem, they would have immediately sought the repair.
Honda officials say the company has an ample supply of inflators for replacement, and that the installation is available at no cost to owners.
Legal Problems for Takata
In a collision, inflators use ammonium nitrate to quickly inflate the airbag. Over time, changing temperatures and exposure to moisture make these Takata airbags susceptible to sudden combustion, which can spray dangerous metal and plastic pieces right into passenger’s bodies.
In 2008, the airbag flaw surfaced and Honda recalled roughly 4,000 vehicles.
Recently, Takata pled guilty to charges of fraud associated with supplying inaccurate safety testing data. The company has agreed to massive settlements, including over $800 million to auto manufacturers and $125 million to those injured or killed by faulty airbags. Several criminal cases are still pending against company management.
The Financial Fallout for Takata
Takata was founded in Japan in 1933 by the same family that runs it today. The company has been devastated by the airbag recall and declared bankruptcy. Key Safety Systems, a competitor based in China with an international presence, agreed to purchase Takata’s four factories for $1.6 billion. With the addition of the remaining Takata assets, Key Safety Systems is estimated to be the second largest company in the airbag market.
Has a faulty product harmed you? Do you have a Takata airbag? Car Accident Help is here to assist you. Determining fault in an accident is crucial to getting compensation, so contact us today at (405) 285-4357.
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