A media storm was created when over 10 million Toyota vehicles were recalled between 2009 and 2011 for problems pertaining to unintended acceleration. The character of the recalls had a negative short-term impact on Toyota's reputation. The automaker faced new recalls due to defective airbag inflators.
When 2013 started, Toyota was forced to recall 907,000 vehicles for airbag issues and now, they have the second largest number of vehicles affected by the US recalls at 877,000, trailing only Honda Motor Co's staggering number of 5.1 million vehicles, according to the US NHTSA. More than 16 million vehicles from all over the world have been recalled because of defective airbags since 2008.
If you have been injured due to a defective airbag in a car accident, you need to consult with an attorney right away. Sean M. Cleary is dedicated to helping those affected by faulty airbags.
Toyota Recalled Models
Manufacturers have to notify owners via email within 60 days of informing NHTSA of a recall decision. You can search for your vehicle model on National Administrations' site https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/ or your car manufacturer's website to see if it is under a recall. You will have to know your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to do the lookup. If there is a safety recall, your manufacturer will repair the car or equipment free of charge.
Toyota Motor Corp. issued its last recall on Monday, October 20, 2014, with new notices for 20,000 vehicles. Owners of 247,000 cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks were also re-notified over the defective airbag concerns. This recent recall targets owners in the following areas: Florida, Puerto Rico, and restricted areas near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana, as well as Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Saipan, and Hawaii.
877,000 potentially affected Toyota models are recalled, including:
- 2002-2005 Lexus SC
- 2002-2005 Toyota Corolla
- 2003-2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix
- 2002-2005 Toyota, the Sequoia model
- 2003-2005 Toyota, the Tundra model
Common Causes of Airbag Failure
Defective airbags are influenced by both their design and manufacture and, considering the fact that airbag injuries have increased in the last years, the NHTSA has required automakers to use so-called "smart" airbag modules. These modules are specially designed to reduce airbag-related accidents and are adapted to a variety of factors:
- Crash angles
- Vehicle speeds
- Occupant sizes
- Occupant positions
Some of the most common issues with defective airbags include a deployment at a wrong angle, a slow deployment, an unnecessary deployment in case of a minor accident or does not deploy when necessary, and one of the most common issues of deployment with too much force. Also, there is an extensive list of factors that affect deployment of airbag systems:
- The occupant's position and weight
- Airbag folding
- The material inside the airbag
- Airbag venting
- Sensor design
- The angle of deployment
- The position of the occupant's seat
- The design of the airbag module
Who Can Be Held Liable?
It is particularly troubling when a device designed to protect and save lives is taking them or is injuring those it is supposed to protect. Unfortunately, Miami the nation in deaths attributed to the force of exploding airbags during the 90s. In the event of an injury or death due to a defective airbag, it is still possible to establish legal claims against the airbag manufacturer, even if he has considered all the safety standards. Car manufacturers can be responsible for the following airbag issues:
- Failure to test for several types of dummies
- Horizontal inflation path
- Crash sensors
- Lack of internal tethers
- Multi-force inflators
Safe airbag designs first inflate upwards before extending outwards, but many airbags have had a horizontal inflation path, which led to injuries to vehicle occupants. Defective airbag cases can be very complicated so you should seek legal advice as early as possible following an accident or injury that involves defective airbags. An experienced lawyer can advise you of your rights and available solutions.
Florida Legislation Regarding Airbags
Toyota's manufacturing defects have resulted in hundreds of product liability and wrongful death lawsuits over the years. According to Florida state law, if you have been affected and injured as a result of a defective product, you can bring personal injury claims within 4 years after the accident. Victims can negotiate a settlement with the involved insurance company to recover their damages. However, if negotiations fail, the victim can file a lawsuit but usually, the majority of cases are settled in pretrial stages.
What Will The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary Do for You?
One of the first things to do if you have been in an accident involving a defective airbag is to contact Our Law Firm as soon as possible. Sean M. Cleary is skilled in aggressively advancing the legal right of clients injured as a result of defective products.
He will investigate the circumstances of the accident and will work together with accident reconstruction specialists and other technicians to determine liability.