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Airbag Recall Expands Over Explosion Risk: 7 Automakers Affected

A worldwide airbag recall is expanding over fears they may spontaneously deploy and explode, injuring or even killing drivers and passengers.

The affected airbags were manufactured by Japan's Takata Corporation and installed in millions of vehicles that have been sold around the world. The risk is that the airbags' inflators can potentially explode, sending "metal bits flying" into the passenger compartment, according to USA Today.

The problem, identified as early as 2007, has been linked to more than 30 injuries and two deaths in Honda vehicles in the United States.

Worldwide and U.S. Regional Recalls

A prior recall in April and May 2013 attempted to address the airbag inflator problem, but apparently it did not go far enough. That's why seven automakers are moving forward with two new recalls involving Takata airbags:

  • In a worldwide effort, three Japanese carmakers -- Honda, Mazda, and Nissan -- are recalling nearly 3 million vehicles over the airbag problem. The number includes about 2 million older-model vehicles in the United States.
  • Separately, NHTSA also announced "regional recalls" for as many as 1.5 million vehicles with Takata airbags in high-humidity areas such as Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The regional recalls affect seven automakers -- Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, Chrysler, Ford, and BMW; Honda's recall also covers vehicles in other southern states such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

It's not exactly clear how humidity contributes to the airbag problem; NHTSA is investigating.

Takata Settles With Victims, Surviving Relatives

As The New York Times reports, Takata has already reached settlements with families of the two victims whose deaths were linked to exploding airbags. The Times also reports that a Georgia woman who was severely injured by an exploding Takata airbag has reached an undisclosed settlement with the company.

Anyone who's similarly been injured by a faulty airbag can potentially sue for compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and even loss of consortium. If you're wondering how much your airbag-injury case may be worth, or whether you even have a case, consult an experienced motor vehicle defects lawyer today.

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