Ford has announced that it will recall 391,000 Ranger pickup trucks following the death of a South Carolina man due to a faulty airbag manufactured by Takata. The recall will affect all Ford Ranger vehicles sold between 2004 and 2006 in the U.S. and Canada.
Ford’s recall announcement comes just days after confirmation by federal investigators that the death of Joel Knight, a South Carolina man who was driving one of the recalled vehicles, was caused by a faulty Takata airbag. Knight was killed in December 2015 when he was struck in the neck by metal shrapnel from the airbag which deployed after his 2006 Ranger was involved in an accident.
Ford has announced that it will inform owners of the recalled vehicles about the airbag issues starting the week of February 22. The company says that it is currently working with other airbag manufacturers to acquire airbag inflators to replace the defective parts on the Takata airbags. Ford was forced to recall these same Ranger models in 2015 to replace the passenger airbag inflators.
Millions of Takata Airbags Recalled Following Numerous Deaths, Injuries
Federal officials have announced that they will recall an additional 5 million vehicles equipped with Takata airbags, due either to a risk of ejected metal similar to Knight’s accident or to airbags that failed to deploy. The Takata airbag recall has now involved 14 car and truck manufacturers and about 24 million vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated that more vehicles equipped with Takata airbags will likely be recalled in the future.
The problems with Takata’s airbags are caused by the chemical ammonium nitrate, which is used to create a small explosion that produces gas and inflates the airbag in the event of a crash. Investigators have found that the ammonium nitrate in Takata airbags can deteriorate over time when exposed to high heat and humidity. This causes the chemical to burn too fast in the event of an accident, blowing apart a metal canister that is supposed to contain the explosion and potentially expelling metal projectiles that can cause death or serious injury.
At least 10 people driving vehicles equipped with Takata airbags have been killed as a result of this defect. An additional 100 drivers have been seriously injured following an accident involving a Takata airbag-equipped car.
Vehicle Crashworthiness Lawsuits Filed By Heygood, Orr & Pearson
Car and truck manufacturers like Ford know that any vehicle they sell could be involved in an accident. Because of this, carmakers have a duty to make sure they design vehicles that are safe under all reasonably foreseeable uses, including a duty to design a vehicle that is reasonably safe when a collision occurs. The extent to which a car or truck has been designed and manufactured to protect the occupants of the vehicle in the event of an accident is known as “vehicle crashworthiness”.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, your injuries may have been caused or worsened by the fact that your vehicle was not sufficiently crashworthy. Individuals who have been injured by a vehicle that fails to meet federal standards regarding vehicle crashworthiness may be eligible to file a lawsuit. The first step in taking legal action against a car or truck manufacturer is to secure the assistance of experienced legal counsel who can guide you through the process of filing a case.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have the experience and knowledge to pursue a crashworthiness claim against any of the major auto manufacturers. We also have the financial resources to handle even the most complex cases from beginning to end. There are many instances when we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a case in order to take it to trial. Our attorneys are committed to achieving justice for our clients, whatever the cost.
For a free legal consultation and to find out more about filing a vehicle crashworthiness lawsuit, contact the attorneys of Heygood, Orr & Pearson. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions to get started.