Some West Virginia motorists may still be driving cars that have Takata air bags in them and that were recalled in 2015. It is estimated that more than 15 million vehicles have them. Over 150 model and year combinations were released by 19 manufacturers that had the air bags installed. AAA is urging people to get the air bags replaced.
The replacements can be done for free at dealerships. When the recall was originally announced, drivers often had long waits before the repairs could be done because there was an insufficient stock of replacements. That problem has now been solved, but only about two-thirds of vehicles carrying the air bags have had them replaced.
The air bags that are being recalled have an inflator that may degrade. This causes the air bag to potentially rupture if there is an accident and spew metal fragments.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 250 people have been injured and at least 16 killed since 2009 by the defective air bags. When defective products cause injury or death, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or others responsible. However, for a successful lawsuit involving product liability, several factors must be in place. First, it is necessary to demonstrate that the product caused the injury or illness. While this might be fairly straightforward in at least some cases involving an exploding air bag, this can sometimes be difficult to establish with a faulty medical product or other devices. It may also be necessary to demonstrate that the responsible party was aware or should have been aware of the issue. While some cases may go to court, in other cases, a company might offer an out-of-court settlement.