Bankrupt airbag manufacturer Takata is recalling 100 million more of its potentially defective front airbag inflators worldwide, possibly the last batch in what has been the largest recall of automotive products in history. 10 million inflators are being recalled in the U.S. alone. These recalled products are part of an agreement the company made with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The front airbag inflators had a design defect that had proven to be potentially deadly. Ammonium nitrate, a commonly used product in both explosives and fertilizers, was used in the inflators to provide the gas used to inflate the bags if there was a serious impact. The ammonium nitrate breaks down on ignition and releases gases, nitrous oxide, and water vapor. The increase in the volume of these gases is what causes the airbags to expand. The defect arose due to the ammonium nitrate deteriorating and causing a premature explosion that was capable of tearing the metal cylinder enclosing the powder apart. The torn metal was shot out when this happened and injuries are caused when the shrapnel penetrates flesh or cuts skin.
Who Is Liable for a Defective Product?
When you purchase and use any kind of product there is a chain involved that leads from the point of manufacture right through to your purchase and use. If the product is defective in any way, like the Takata airbags, and causes damage to property or injury, then at some point along the chain there was a failure to provide a safe product. Before the injured victim can initiate any legal action to recover damages liability must be determined.
The majority of defective products are due to manufacturing design errors. Manufacturers are expected to manufacture products that are safe to use as long as the guidelines and information they provide are clear to use. If it can be proven that the design itself was defective, or the quality control measures in place at the place of manufacture weren’t effective enough or instructions provided were confusing or not sufficient for safe use of the product then there are good grounds for directing a defective product lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Between the manufacturer and the purchaser, there are several steps involved, from importers (assuming that the product was not made in the U.S.) through to wholesalers, delivery companies, retailers. The product may have been actively marketed by someone else altogether. Generally, it would be hard to allege that any of these service providers were liable unless they continue to distribute and sell a product that was known by them to be defective. Lack of care may also be an example of negligence if a product has been badly handled or stored in conditions that led to it becoming defective.
Finally, the purchaser has a responsibility to read any instructions carefully, unpack a product safely if it comes in packaging and uses the product in the way in the way it is intended to be used. A simple example of the latter is when an electrical device is purchased outside of the U.S. and brought back home. Because the mains power system in the U.S. is of a different voltage than used in most other parts of the world, this could easily affect the function of the device unless a transformer is used.
What to Do if You, or a Family Member, Are Injured by a Defective Product
If you think that the product that has injured you was definitely defective, make sure you keep all the parts to it, together with any packaging. Take photos of any damage done to the product itself, any obvious outward sign of injuries and documentation from your doctor and any other health providers that treat your injuries.
After prioritizing dealing with your own injuries your next step should be to make an appointment with an experienced defective product attorney. Because so many products these days are manufactured overseas, especially China, it may not be easy taking legal action even if there is proof that there is a manufacturing error. However, you have a far higher chance of obtaining adequate compensation if you work through an attorney.
Contact Injury Lawyer San Antonio if Injured by a Defective Product
If you, or a loved one, have been injured by a defective product, whatever the circumstances, you should contact Injury Lawyer San Antonio. It can be difficult to sue a negligent manufacturer or retailer without professional legal help. You can contact Injury lawyer San Antonio at 956-631-3535.