Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP
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New risk revealed with deadly Takata air bags

Cars and trucks are safer today. They have to be. Government regulations require it. Passive restraints in the form of seat belts and child safety seats are mandated. Air bags are no longer optional equipment. They were when they first came on the scene.

Many victims of car crashes have walked away from wrecks as a result. Unfortunately, many others have not. Serious injuries and deaths still occur all too often. Sometimes the cause of the problem isn’t the crash itself, but faulty devices in the vehicle that malfunctions and kills or injures, rather than saves. Even recalls of such products aren’t enough.

Limited recall reach

The limit of recall efforts as they relate to Takata air bags is making news lately. Readers will surely remember that tens of millions of these air bags are subject to recall because of potential problems with their inflation systems. The issue is that age and climate conditions can degrade the chemical mixture that’s supposed to inflate the bag in a collision. The canisters can explode with such force that it sends shrapnel flying into the passenger compartment of vehicles. At least 16 people have died. Nearly 200 have been injured.

One of the latest victims of a defective air bag didn’t even know she was at risk. She was driving a family car that had been bought used.

As it turns out, the car had been rebuilt under a salvage title and whoever did the work recycled an air bag from another wreck. It was subject to the recall, but somehow fell through the regulatory cracks and found its way back onto the market, leaving the crash victim with a hole in her neck and facing the need for added medical care going forward.

It may be that this victim and her family will succeed in seeking compensation from some liable party. An experienced attorney’s help will surely be required, however, to determine who might be held to account.

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