VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Toyota recall raises further questions about airbags

Thousands of Florida residents have taken their cars, trucks or SUVs to authorized repair facilities in recent months to have potentially dangerous airbags manufactured by the Japanese auto parts supplier Takata replaced. The Takata airbag recall is the largest auto recall in U.S. history, but a June 29 announcement by Toyota that 1.4 million vehicles were being recalled due to an unrelated airbag safety issue has led consumer advocates to fear that these problems may even more widespread than initially thought.

Almost 500,000 of the vehicles being recalled by Toyota were sold to U.S. residents. The models being recalled include popular hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and Lexus CT manufactured between 2008 and 2012. While the Takata recall involved driver and front passenger airbags, Toyota is recalling vehicles due to a potentially dangerous defect in their vehicles' side airbags. The inflators of the airbags concerned have a two-chamber design, and Toyota fears that the weld joining these chambers could develop cracks if vehicles are parked and not used for prolonged periods.

The danger posed by Toyota's faulty side airbags is similar to the problem with Takata airbags. When the weld joining the inflator chambers is compromised, the airbags could inflate without warning and shower vehicle occupants with debris. Authorities have linked at least 10 deaths and dozens of injuries with faulty Takata airbags.

When the products consumers buy cause them harm, they may be able to seek civil remedies by initiating litigation against the manufacturer concerned. However, these lawsuits are often complex and may feature defendants with deep pockets and valuable reputations to protect. Attorneys with experience in auto product liability cases could assess the legal options of vehicle occupants who have been injured by a defective part.

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