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Wrongful Death Claims and Automobile Air Bag Defects

Casey Woodruff

air bagThe simple act of driving your car in the Chicago area, either alone or with passengers, should not be an exercise that comes with a serious risk of fatal injuries due to defective air bags. Yet over the past months, news outlets have emphasized the substantial risk of death that can accompany the use of automobiles installed with certain air bags. In particular, those made by Takata Corp can explode, resulting in fatal injuries to vehicle occupants.

When a loved one suffers fatal injuries in an accident, it is important to learn more about filing a wrongful death claim to obtain financial compensation.

Expansion of Recall Concerning Potentially Deadly Air Bag Inflators

According to a recent article in Reuters, Honda Motor Co Ltd newly expanded its recall of vehicles containing potentially defective air bags, bringing the total recall number up to about 2.3 million. As Honda expanded its Takata air bag recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) updated its “Recall Spotlight” webpage to announce “new developments about defective Takata air bag inflators that will lead to additional vehicle recalls.” In short, the NHTSA learned that the recent rupture of a Takata air bag inflator resulted in the ninth fatality in the United States.

As the Reuters article explains, a number of Acura and Honda models from 2005 to 2016 have been implicated in the recent recall. The Takata PSDI-5 driver-side inflators have the potential to cause deadly injuries. Specifically, when Takata informed safety regulators about the dangers associated with this product, it noted that the inflators “could rupture and kill, or cause serious injury to vehicle occupants.” The NHTSA emphasized that these potentially defective air bag inflators were discovered during a Toyota recall that showed the rupture of four inflators.

And it is not just Honda Motor Co Ltd that has issued expanded safety recalls for potentially deadly products. Indeed, as the NHTSA notes, both SDI-model driver-side inflators, as well as the PSDI-5 inflators, have the potential to inflict deadly injuries if they rupture. The NHTSA remarked upon the December 2015 death of a driver in a 2006 Ford Ranger. In that case, the SDI-model driver-side inflator ruptured and killed the driver. In total, the expanded recalls include around five million additional vehicles, including models by the following automobile manufacturers:

  • Audi;
  • BMW;
  • Daimler Vans;
  • Ford;
  • Honda;
  • Mazda;
  • Mercedes Benz;
  • Saab; and
  • Volkswagen

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Chicago

Deaths from these defective air bag inflators can be prevented if consumers heed the recall notices. Yet many consumers have not been fortunate to have advance warning about the risk of death linked to these auto products. If your loved one suffered a fatal injury caused by a defective product, you may be able to obtain compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

In Chicago, wrongful death claims are governed by the Illinois Wrongful Death Act(740 ILCS 180/). This law allows particular relatives of the deceased, in addition to certain other parties, to file claims and to seek damages. Did you lose a loved one in a preventable accident that involved a defective product? An experienced Chicago wrongful death lawyer can help. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans today to learn more about our services.

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