Toyota has added 1.3 million more vehicles to its Takata airbag recall in the U.S. as part of an expanding effort to repair airbag inflators that can explode with deadly force.
According to Toyota, the latest Takata airbag expansion is part of a pre-determined plan to recall and repair the dangerous airbags in stages. Toyota committed to recalling millions of vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbags in a 2016 agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) – the safety arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation that is steering the sweeping recall.
Toyota’s following vehicles are covered in the current Takata airbag expansion:
- 2010-2016 4Runner
- 2010-2013 Corolla
- 2010-2013 Matrix
- 2011-2014 Sienna
- 2010-2015 Scion XB
- 2010-2012 Lexus ES 350
- 2010-2017 Lexus GX 460
- 2010-2015 Lexus IS 250C
- 2010-2015 Lexus IS 350C
- 2010-2013 Lexus IS 250
- 2010-2013 Lexus IS 350
- 2010-2014 Lexus IS-F
The Toyota vehicles covered by the Takata recall are equipped with front passenger airbag inflators that use ammonium nitrate, a highly volatile chemical, as a propellant. Prolonged exposure to high humidity, high temperatures, and high-temperature cycling causes a degradation of the propellant, which could trigger an airbag inflator rupture.
Takata airbag explosions can blast metal fragments through the airbag at the driver and passengers. About two dozen people have been killed by exploding Takata airbags and at least 300 others have been injured, including several seriously.
Depending on the vehicle model, Toyota and Lexus dealers will replace either the front passenger airbag inflator or the entire airbag assembly. The repair will be made at no cost to owners. Toyota will notify the owners of all the recalled vehicles directly by first class mail or other means starting in late January 2019.
Airbag injury claims
In February, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware confirmed the reorganization plan of Takata’s U.S. entity, TK Holdings, clearing the way for the Takata Airbag Individual Restitution Fund (IRF). The $975 million Takata fund allocates $125 million to personal injury and wrongful death claimants – past, present, and future victims of Takata’s defective airbags, regardless of the vehicle in which the airbags were installed. Victims will be compensated for their pain and suffering that was caused by Takata’s willful negligence.
Any Takata airbag injury that qualifies pursuant to the claim fund criteria can be pursued through the Takata bankruptcy claim fund. Honda has likewise established a claims fund that allows claimants to pursue claims outside traditional litigation. Our firm is pursuing cases involving all three avenues of recovery. Beasley Allen is looking at all death or injury claims related to Takata airbags, even if the injuries do not appear to be permanent or life-threatening.