It’s considered to be the largest and most complex recall in U.S. History and it’s far from over. Some 69 million airbags in the U.S. and another 60 million worldwide are being recalled according to court documents and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA says it plans to continue announcing new recalls through 2020.
While the Japanese automotive parts company, Takata, filed for bankruptcy in June 2017, lawsuits and settlements forge ahead. Just recently the airbag maker reached a $650 million deal to settle claims stemming from 44 states and Washington, D.C. Most of the states have agreed not to collect on the settlement so that victims of the faulty inflators are able to vie for a larger amount of the company’s remaining funds. South Carolina, which led the states suits, will get around $140,000 to cover its cost of the investigation. “I am pleased that we were able to resolve this investigation while ensuring that the needs of injured consumers take priority, and that replacement airbags continue to be manufactured,” noted South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.
As part of a criminal plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department in 2017, Takata has agreed to pay victims $125 million and another $850 million in restitution to automakers who bought its inflators and are now stuck with recall and litigation costs.
How will the bankrupt company pay up? Takata is expected to sell most of its non-air bag assets to a Chinese-owned rival for $1.6 billion. The sale, will go to finance a variety of penalties and fines as well as obligates Takata to establish that compensation fund for injured victims and families.
Meanwhile, an independent monitor reports of the 43.1 million recalled airbags so far, only an estimated 18.5 million have actually been repaired. That is not even ½ of the recalled inflators, despite the Takata recall ongoing for several years. You are strongly encouraged to check your car on the NHTSA vehicle list to see if it is affected.
If you or a loved one were a victim of these faulty airbags contact us for a free consultation!