Malfunctioning Takata airbags could lead to product liability claims

Date: May 17, 2017

A Japanese automotive parts manufacturer is under the spotlight after a woman became the first Australian to sustain substantial injuries due to one of the company's airbags malfunctioning.

Takata was aware of the problems with its airbags prior to the accident and had already issued a worldwide recall on its products across multiple vehicle models in 2015.

However, a Darwin woman was struck in the head by a piece of metal after she crashed and the vehicle's airbag failed to deploy last month. The 21-year-old was taken to Royal Darwin Hospital where she was reportedly in serious condition.

Following the accident, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission published a list of cars that were subject to the Takata recall. Affected vehicles included various Toyotas, Hondas, BMWs, Mazdas, Mitsubishis and Nissans. For the full list, please click here.

Takata admits fraud in airbag cover-up

Takata airbag defects are thought to have killed at least 16 people worldwide, as well as causing or failing to prevent injuries to a further 180 individuals.

The firm pled guilty to concealing evidence that its airbag inflators can explode when hit with too much force, throwing shrapnel at drivers and passengers.

Earlier this year, Takata agreed a US$1 billion (AU$1.35 billion) fine after pleading guilty to fraud.

Speaking to ABC News, Sergeant Mark Casey from the NT Police Major Crash Investigation Unit said there had been no reported injuries or deaths due to Takata airbag failures in the country prior to the Darwin victim.

"The recall involved approximately 100 million vehicles around the world, including 2.1 million vehicles in Australia," he explained.

Are product liability claims on the horizon?

People who suffer injuries due to poorly manufactured products may be entitled to compensation through the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW).

Everyone's experiences are different and public liability laws are complex, which is why talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer is crucial to see whether you have a legitimate case.

With driving-related incidents, plaintiffs may also be able to receive car accident compensation in addition to making a product liability claim, particularly if incidents are not your fault or you're only partly to blame.

For more information on personal injury compensation, please contact the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.