Nissan Airbag Fire Caused by Defective Takata Inflator

Nissan officials indicate that defective a Takata airbag exploded in one of their vehicles following a crash in Japan, causing a fire. 

Millions of cars worldwide have been subject to a Takata airbag recall over the last year, due to reports that the airbags can overinflate and rupture, causing shrapnel to fly into the passengers’ compartment. The incidents have resulted in a number of deaths and dozens of injuries.

According to Nissan officials, one such incident occurred recently in Japan, and the hot fragments from the ruptured Takata airbag inflator set the dashboard of the vehicle on fire. The driver was slightly injured, but it is unclear if that were due to the auto accident that triggered the airbag, or debris from the airbag inflator.

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Takata Airbag Lawsuits

Millions of Vehicles Were Recalled in 2014 Due to Exploding Airbags That Caused Injuries and Deaths.

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Nissan has recalled 4.4 million vehicles worldwide due to Takata airbags, including 813,000 in Japan. The vehicle involved in the accident, an X-Trail SUV, was on the recall list but it does not appear that the owner was aware of the recall. Tens of millions of vehicles in the U.S. have been affected by recalls involving at least 10 different car manufacturers.

Takata officials have acknowledged that they have received an incident report from Nissan and say the inflator used in the vehicle was manufactured at a Moses Lake facility in Washington state. They indicate that an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) encourages owners to schedule their repair appointments promptly upon receipt of any recall notice, but is urging owners to act fast with any vehicle impacted by rupturing Takata inflators due to the severe safety risks associated.

In the wake of the massive recalls, concerns have emerged about the slow rate of repairs and replacements for the airbags. The number of vehicles affected have overloaded Takata’s ability to manufacture replacement parts, with some experts suggesting that it will take years to manufacture enough replacement parts. In addition, some have raised concerns that the repaired airbags may not actually solve the problem, since the cause of the ruptures is still under investigation.

Takata Airbag Inflator Lawsuits

A growing number of Takata airbag lawsuits are being filed nationwide on behalf of individuals who suffered severe injuries from an exploding airbag. All involve similar allegations that design defects caused the airbags to overinflate and rupture.

On February 5, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered all airbag lawsuits against Takata filed in federal courts nationwide to be consolidated under one judge for pretrial proceedings as part of a Takata airbag MDL.

Complaints filed throughout the federal court system will be transferred to U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno in the Southern District of Florida to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

The decision initially only affects at least five class action lawsuits filed in three different federal districts. However, more than 67 other pending actions have been identified in about 20 different districts, which will also be transferred into the Takata airbag MDL, since they raise common allegations of fact and law.

Image Credit: FotograFFF / Shutterstock.com

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