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Auto Industry Faces A Heavy Blow After Another Airbag Recall

The auto industry has faced a number of troubles this past year; troubles which have only deepened with this weekend’s recall of more than 2.1 million older vehicles from three major carmakers-Toyota, Chrysler and Honda.

The announcement comes only days after the family of Carlos Solis filed a lawsuit against Takata, the airbag manufacturer for Toyota. Solis, 35, was killed on Jan. 18 in a minor crash in Texas. The lawsuit alleges that as an air bag in his 2002 Honda Accord inflated, it sent a piece of metal into his neck. Solis was pronounced dead at the scene. His death has not officially been linked to the air bag, but officials are speculating the airbag played a role.

The vehicles are being recalled a second time to fix potentially faulty air bags that may inadvertently inflate while the car is running. Recalled vehicles include some Acura MDX, Dodge Viper, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda Odyssey, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Avalon models made from 2002 to 2004.

According to a statement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all of the vehicles covered in Saturday’s announcement had already been under a recall for the defective air bags, but the carmakers’ original attempts to fix the defects worked only about 85% of the time. Since the initial recall, there have been about 400 reported cases of faulty air bag deployments in the recalled vehicles. The incidents resulted in minor injuries but no known deaths. The recall highlights the problems automakers and regulators face with increasing number of complex electronic systems.

Under this latest recall, automakers are to fully replace the faulty electronic control unit, which is made by TRW Automotive Holdings of Livonia, Michigan. In the previous recall, the unit was only partially replaced. The new remedy will be available to all affected vehicles by the end of the year. The NHTSA urges consumers with cars under the first recall to have the partial unit installed, even if they have to return to the dealer under the second recall.

“Even though it’s a temporary solution until the new remedy is available, (consumers) and their families will be safer if they take the time to learn if their vehicle is covered and follow their manufacturers’ instructions,” a spokesperson for the NHTSA said. About 39 air bags that had been replaced under the previous recall inadvertently deployed again.

According to the NHTSA, 1 million Toyota and Honda vehicles are subject to separate recalls related to defective air bags made by Takata of Japan. Those air bags can deploy and rupture with enough force to cause injury or death. In nine cases, cars had problems that included both the inadvertent deployment and the Takata rupture. Three of those cases resulted in injuries, including eye injuries, scratches and burns.

PRODUCTS LIABILITY

Carmakers, like all consumer products manufacturers, are responsible for ensuring that their products are mechanically safe and do not pose a threat to consumers. And when car companies fail at making sure their cars are safe, they are liable if and when an individual is injured because of their negligence.

At Altman & Altman LLP, our seasoned Products Liability Attorneys have nearly 50 years of knowledge and experience handling all types of defective products and products liability cases, and we have the skills to fight against large consumer products companies so that our clients achieve the highest financial compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved was injured as the result of a faulty product, call our office today to speak to an attorney to discuss your legal options and whether you might qualify for a products liability claim. All initial consultations are completely free of charge and of no obligation to you. Our team of lawyers is available around the clock to answer any and all questions you may have about your case.

Original article by USA Today