Under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the authority to investigate unsafe products and issue recalls. If a company fails to comply with a recall or an investigation, the NHTSA has the option of pressing the issue further by using the court system.
This exact scenario is playing out right now with the Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata Corporation, which has been issued fines of $14,000 per day by the NHTSA for failing to cooperate with an investigation into its potentially dangerous airbag inflators.
According to the investigation, the inflators are used by 10 major auto companies and have a defect that can launch shrapnel into drivers and passengers during a collision. There have been six deaths and more than 100 injured worldwide by the defective airbags. Due to a lack of compliance by Takata Corporation, NHTSA officials have threatened to take the case to the Justice Department for further action.
What Options Are Available to People Hurt by Defective Products?
Several lawsuits have been filed against Takata Corporation for injuries and deaths due to the defective airbags. Earlier this year, a Houston man died after the airbag triggered during a minor car accident. According to an autopsy, a large piece of metal entered the man’s neck and severed an artery when the airbag deployed. His family is suing both Takata Corporation and Honda, claiming they have known about the defect for over a decade.
Accident survivors and family members who have lost loved ones have the option to file a lawsuit against auto part and car manufacturers who release unsafe products.
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