Investigations into Takata Seat Belts
Millions of people may be riding around in vehicles equipped with faulty seat belts, according to Joyson Safety Systems, the Chinese automotive supplier that bought the Japanese company, Takata. Takata went bankrupt in 2017 and is widely known for manufacturing defective airbags that led to injuries and deaths in the United States.
Joyson Safety Systems is analyzing more than 20 years of testing data regarding Takata seat belts. It has reported inconsistencies and inaccuracies, leading the company to believe that Takata likely purposely fudged the numbers. Regulators in Japan have started a probe and have told auto companies to prepare for recalls, news reports indicate.
The impact of the recalls could be drastic if the seatbelts are shown to be unsafe. Takata provided seatbelt webbing for up to 40% of cars produced in Japan and 30% of cars produced globally.
It’s unclear how many vehicles could be subject to potential recalls. As the airbag scandal played out, Takata was hit with numerous lawsuits and criminal investigations. In February 2017, Takata agreed to pay a $1 billion fine to settle a U.S. investigation. Four months later, it filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. and Japan.
Joyson Safety Systems, the Chinese firm that took over, has been analyzing data covering tests conducted at the old seat belt plant Takata operated in Hikone, Japan. It has uncovered evidence that indicated the company altered results when the seat belt webbing made there did not meet legal standards.
Takata’s History with Faulty Safety Systems
Takata was once among the largest and most respected suppliers of vehicular safety systems. The company’s fall began in 2014 when it was found that its airbags could malfunction over time. More specifically, the devices used to fill the bags with air could explode, sending plastic and metal debris flying inside the car. It was then found that company managers were aware of this defect and attempted to cover it up.
Takata’s faulty airbags have been linked to hundreds of injuries and even some fatalities. Honda recently reported that 17 deaths had been tied to the faulty airbags. There are about 70 million defective inflators in the U.S., and automakers continue to repair millions of vehicles that had defective airbags.
Were You Hurt in a Crash Due to a Faulty Seat Belt?
If you have been injured in a crash that was caused by a faulty seatbelt, airbag, or another automotive part, the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., are here to help. Our lawyers have extensive experience and resources to handle these complex cases. In one particular auto defect lawsuit, our lawyers represented a client who suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a seatbelt defect. We helped our clients obtain a landmark verdict of $55.3 million, the largest jury award ever in an automotive defect case in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., can work quickly to thoroughly investigate your auto accident. We will bring in experts in engineering and automotive design to help us. If we discover a defect, we can help you take on deep-pocketed manufacturers to demand the full and fair compensation you deserve. Contact us now for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Philadelphia auto defect lawyer.
Co-founder and senior shareholder of our law firm, Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney Kenneth M. Rothweiler began his career as a legal clerk for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Dedicated to complex personal injury litigation, he has tried more than 100 jury trials. These cases resulted in some of the largest verdicts in Pennsylvania.