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Should You Worry About the Airbag Explosion Recall?

Since news came this week of the largest product recall in history, it has been difficult for some to figure out who is affected, and how much we should be worrying about the risks involved. Instead of being confined to a single make or model, the Takata airbag recall is affecting dozens of models from nearly every car maker, and the list is still growing…

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A definitive catalogue of all auto recalls is available at safercar.gov.  This list is searchable by VIN number and will be updated as all cars that have dangerous airbags are identified.

The Problem: 33.8 million cars equipped with front seat airbags made by the Japanese company Takata are being recalled in the United States because of potential problems with the force of their deployment ‘explosion’.

The recall has been put into effect because it has been found that at least six people have been killed, and more than 100 injured, when the airbags have malfunctioned.  Under certain conditions, the airbags deploy during auto accidents with such force that they send pieces of metal from the inflation canister flying into the passengers they are supposed to be protecting from injury.  So far, this seems to be happening to cars that have had longtime exposure to high humidity, but Takata and U.S. regulators have not yet pinpointed the exact problem.

The Remedy:

The recall is so huge that it will take many months, and maybe years, to replace airbags in all of the cars affected.  Once a make and model has been identified as falling under the recall, the automaker will send  letters to owners with instructions on how to make an appointment at their local dealer.  Because of the connection to high humidity, replacements are being prioritized in places that are warm year-round, especially Gulf Coast states. To check immediately if you are affected, enter your car’s VIN # (found on your registration or at the front of your dashboard) at safer car.gov.  Keep in mind that the list has not been finalized. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is hoping to have the list finalized by the end of May.  As of now, car manufacturers are recommending that people keep using their cars normally until repairs can be made.

The Liability:

There are reports that Takata has known about the problem with these airbags for years.  If so, they will likely be held liable in any wrongful death cases or personal injury cases that result from the malfunctions.  Individuals auto makers may also be on the hook, especially if it is found that they were aware of the problem.  The legal principle at work here is a foundation of personal injury law — if your negligence causes harm to someone else, then you are liable for damages that have occurred.

If you have experienced an injury in a car crash, feel free to give Burnett & Williams a call for a free consultation:  800-969-1650.  At offices conveniently located in Northern Virginia and the greater Richmond area, we handle auto injury cases of all sizes.  In many cases we find that clients are surprised by the multiple sources of payments they are entitled to under Virginia law.

According to the NHTSA, these makes and models are currently recalled due to the Takata air bags:

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BMW:

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

CHRYSLER:

2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
2008 – Dodge Ram 5500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango
2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota
2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300
2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen

FORD:

2004 Ranger
2005 – 2006 GT
2005 – 2007 Mustang[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_1third]

GM:

2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe
2006 – 2007 Pontiac Vibe*
2005 Saab 9-2X

HONDA

2001 – 2007 Honda Accord
2001 – 2002 Honda Accord
2003 Honda Accord*
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2006 Honda Civic*
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
2006 Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
2005 Acura RL

MAZDA:

2003 – 2007 Mazda 6
2006 – 2007 Mazda Speed6
2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8
2004 – 2005 MPV
2004 B-Series Truck[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_1third_end]

MITSUBISHI:

2004 – 2005 Lancer
2006 – 2007 Raider

NISSAN:

2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima
2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder
2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra
2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35
2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

SUBARU:

2003 – 2005 Baja
2003 – 2005 Legacy
2003 – 2005 Outback
2004 – 2005 Impreza

TOYOTA:

2002 – 2005 Lexus SC
2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla
2006 – 2007 Toyota Corolla*
2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix
2006 – 2007 Toyota Corolla Matrix*
2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia
2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra[/ezcol_1third_end]

*Added May 19