Settlement reached in Takata airbag class action lawsuit

Millions of vehicle owners around the country will be compensated by car makers for installing faulty airbags and dragging their feet over fixing the issue if a federal court approves a $553 settlement agreement. Toyota, BMW, Subaru and Mazda have agreed to pay the sum to end a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 15.8 million consumers, many of whom reside in New York. Media outlets reported news of the settlement on May 18.

The largest vehicle recall in U.S. history was triggered when reports emerged of airbags exploding with so much force that they sprayed passenger compartments with dangerous debris. The problem has claimed at least 16 lives and injured many more people worldwide.

In addition to writing large checks, car makers will be required to step up their efforts to fix the problem. Two out of three of the Toyotas covered by the various recalls still contain faulty airbag inflators, and only 16 percent of the BMW owners affected have had the recall work done. Ford, Nissan and Honda are also being sued over the issue.

Experienced personal injury attorneys may consider the matter of damages carefully when taking on product liability cases. In addition to compensation for expenses like property damage and medical bills, attorneys may seek damages to cover lost income if their clients were unable to work and earn a living for even a short period of time. Manufacturers may also be ordered to pay punitive damages when they lose product liability lawsuits. Juries award punitive damages to deter similar behavior, and defendants may be more willing to settle these matters quickly as a result.

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