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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Automotive supplier faces recall pressures

Montana residents whose vehicles are fitted with air bags may be concerned about reports of deployment problems. Takata, an automotive supplier, is facing pressures by government officials in connection with the need for parts to make the appropriate repairs. Nearly 8 million air bags are of concern in the defective product case.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for oversight of product recalls related to vehicles, and a deputy administrator for the organization has emphasized the importance of sufficient replacement parts being available to ensure that the defective inflation canisters can be replaced. Reports indicate that air bags produced by Takata have the ability to propel shrapnel of plastic and metal parts in an accident when bags deploy.

Officials indicate that at least two deaths may have resulted from this product defect. The government is attempting to discover the level of production possible as the company manufactures replacement parts. Additional concerns include quality control and the ability to increase production levels. Quick but responsible replacement is desired, and NHTSA is working to effect prompt recall notifications and repair coordination through automobile manufacturers. The agency also expresses its concern that Takata will promote aggressive testing to ensure the integrity of other air bags.

An individual who is injured in connection with an air bag problem might deal with serious financial consequences. Litigation may be warranted if a plaintiff's injuries were caused by a defective product. A car or parts manufacturer might be held liable for a plaintiff's crash-related losses such as the expenses to treat his or her injuries and wages lost due to time off work.

Source: USA Today, "Takata pressured to speed up air bag recalls", Chris Woodyard, October 30, 2014

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