A woman nearly killed by an exploding air bag in an otherwise minor traffic accident has filed a lawsuit against Takata and Honda. The petition seeks more than $1 million in damages.
The Takata air bag exploded Sept. 11, 2016, in the low-speed crash of a 2002 Honda Civic. The defective bag sent shards of metal into Serena Martinez, 42 in Fort Bend County, Texas. The shrapnel severely cut her chest and arm.
Ms. Martinez said she is lucky to be alive. The metal shards narrowly missed a major artery as they pierced her chest instead of her neck.
“I thought I was going to bleed to death,” said Ms. Martinez. “I don’t understand how something that was supposed to protect me (caused) my injuries.”
Exploding Takata Airbag
The air bag in the 2002 Civic was made by Takata Corp., a Japanese auto parts company that enjoys 30% of the world’s airbag market. Takata air bags are inflated by explosive ammonium nitrate in a metal canister. The problem can occur if the ammonium nitrate burns all at once. That occurrence can then blow the canister into metal shrapnel that can penetrate passengers and injure or kill them.
Exploding Airbag Deaths
Exploding Takata air bags are believed to be implicated in the deaths of at least 16 people, while more than 50 injuries have been reported, most of them in America. The potentially fatal aibag problem has triggered the largest safety recall in U.S. history – some 70 million airbag inflators sold by 15 automakers.
Humidity, Moisture Related Problems
Air bag injury lawyers allege that Takata has known for decades ammonium nitrate can be dangerously unstable, especially with moisture exposure. Most explosions have occurred in hot and humid regions in the U.S. By year 2019, regulators want Takata to recall all of its airbags which use ammonium nitrate with no drying agent.
Exploding Air Bag Lawsuit filed in Texas
Ms. Martinez lawsuit was filed October 31, 2016 in state district court in Houston, Texas.
Takata Air Bag Settlement in Houston
A confidential settlement was recently reached in a similar case. On March 31, 2016, 17-year-old Huma Hanif was killed in a 2002 Honda Civic near Houston. She rear-ended another auto in a low speed accident, but her Takata air bag exploded and sent metal shrapnel into her neck. Ms. Hanif died at the scene of that accident.