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Did Honda Hide Takata Repair from Regulators?

Can Honda be held responsible for injuries caused by defective Takata airbags?

That is the question that now lingers over the unprecedented, worldwide recall of the product, which is said to affect millions of vehicles and is linked to nine deaths and more than 90 injuries for Honda drivers and passengers in the U.S. As Reuters reports, Honda has admitted to requesting a fix from Takata in August 2009 after realizing that product failed to deploy correctly. The car maker did not notify U.S. regulators of the request-- even though that kind of disclosure is mandated by federal law.

Honda has already asserted that their request to Takata was not motivated by the knowledge that the airbags were potentially dangerous. According to company spokesman Chris Martin, the redesign request was an attempt to "protect against the possibility of future manufacturing errors—it was not an acknowledgement of a larger design flaw in the inflators."

Possible Liability for Airbag Injuries

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Association has yet to comment on Honda's admission, experts are skeptical of Honda's latest claim and suggest that it could make them liable for injuries. "You can't say, 'It's a supplier problem, not ours, so we don't have to talk about it," said Peter Henning, a corporate law professor at Wayne State University. "They are responsible for every part on their car and also responsible to report a problem with any part on that car."

Los Angeles product liability attorney John Kristensen also doesn't believe Honda's claims excuse them from hiding their Takata request from regulators. "[Honda] made a determination of a defect when they asked for the fail-safe design," he told Reuters. "They had an obligation to tell the government back in 2009. Good luck defending that."

Takata airbag deployers—which have been used by nearly every major car maker over the last few years-- have shown, in some cases, to deploy with too much force, sending dangerous debris through the vehicle upon deployment. There are currently more than 100 pending federal lawsuits and dozens of state suits claiming that Takata knew about the failings in their product and did not act to correct them.

If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured due to a defect in your automobile, then we invite you to contact us at Jackson Allen & Williams, LLP. Our award-winning and Board Certified Dallas personal injury attorneys knows that it takes to recover the compensation the injured deserve, even if it takes holding large manufacturers accountable in a court of law.

Want to learn more about your defective car claim options? Contact us today.

Categories: Defective Products
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