CBS news recently issued a news story stating that major car manufacturer Ford Motor Company has initiated a recall of roughly 391,000 of its Ford Ranger truck vehicles after a man riding in one of the vehicles died when one of the truck’s airbags exploded. The recall covers Ranger trucks manufactured between the years of 2004 and 2006.
According to authorities familiar with the accident, the decedent was driving his Ford Ranger pickup when he collided with a cow that had found its way onto the road. After making contact with the cow, the man lost control of the vehicle and collided into a fence. It is unclear whether the airbag deployed when the truck collided with the cow or when the truck collided with the fence. Reports prepared about the incident indicate that the man died as a result of metal shrapnel impaling his neck and that the shrapnel was created when the activator in the airbag exploded instead of inflating the device. The investigation also suggested that but for the defective airbag device the collision would have been moderate and unlikely to have resulted in the driver’s death.
The airbag in the vehicle was manufactured by Takata, a Japanese car parts maker that has recently made headlines for its defective airbags. This fatality marks the tenth death linked to Takata’s defective airbags. Roughly 34 million vehicles have been subject to the recall initiated following discovery of Takata’s failure to disclose reports showing that its airbags sometimes exploded during test crashes. According to these internal documents, the airbags’ propellant devices are prone to exploding upon impact, resulting in deadly metal fragments being projected at high velocity toward the vehicle’s occupants. Some reports suggest that Takata knew about its defective airbag products as early as 2004.
Today, the number of vehicles that may be affected by the Takata recall continue to climb, with estimates reaching as high as 120 million vehicle units. Unsurprisingly, a slew of lawsuits have been filed against Takata and auto manufacturers alleging claims of negligence, product liability, breach of warranty, and gross negligence.
To recover damages based on a negligence theory, the plaintiffs must show that Takata and/or the auto manufacturers failed to exercise due care in designing and manufacturing the airbags and vehicles in which they were installed. The plaintiffs can also recover damages by establishing that Takata and/or the auto manufacturers failed to provide adequate warnings regarding the tendency of the airbags to explode instead of inflating. To prove gross negligence, the plaintiffs must also show that the defendants acted recklessly, wantonly, or willfully.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as the result of a defective airbag device or other dangerous products, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, we have counseled countless plaintiffs throughout the United States, including in Texas, California, and Florida in addition to our home state of Illinois. Call us now at 317-462-1700 or contact us online to set up your free, no-obligation consultation today.