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Car companies allegedly used defective product despite known risk

Residents of Dallas get into their cars and drive to work every day, trusting that if they get into a car accident, the air bags will help keep them safe. A civil lawsuit over a dangerous and defective product that has killed almost a dozen people indicates this belief may be misplaced. Recent court documentation suggests that not only was an overseas company aware that the air bags it manufactures were defective, but that the car companies that purchased them also knew yet continued to use them, ignoring the risks in favor of a greater profit margin.

The U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating the Takata company for some time and is said to have reached a plea deal in early 2017. As part of the agreement, the manufacturing company will pay fines and restitution of $1 billion to victims of its faulty air bags. The company also entered a guilty plea in the criminal proceedings, admitting that its employees doctored data, intentionally omitting and even falsifying information to try to make the air bags seem safer.

Car companies have pointed to this confession as proof that they should not be held liable in the ongoing civil lawsuit filed in 2015. However, it is now claimed that some of the automakers actually knew the air bags were defective, and had been for over a decade. The companies -- including BMW, Toyota, Ford, Honda and Nissan -- are accused of ignoring this information so that they could continue using the air bags in their vehicles, as they were cheaper than the products of competitors.

Hundreds of individuals in the United States alone have been seriously injured -- and some have even lost loved ones -- because of the defective air bags. Anyone in the Dallas area who has been adversely affected by the air bags may benefit from the counsel of a lawyer, who can advise on what steps to take next. Likewise, anyone who has been injured by any dangerous or defective product -- an airbag or otherwise -- has the right to contact a personal injury attorney. A lawyer with experience in product liability cases can explain legal rights and offer guidance.

Source: The Washington Post, "Lawsuit alleges automakers knew of deadly Takata air-bag defects", Steven Overly, Feb. 27, 2017

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