The family of Hien Tran filed a lawsuit Monday against Takata Corporation and Honda Motor Company, alleging that Honda told dealers not to recall defective Takata airbags just one week before the Florida woman was killed when her airbag exploded.
Ms. Tran died from “stab-type wounds” on her face, neck, and torso after shrapnel from the airbag’s metal housing struck her when the airbag deployed, leading traffic investigators to initially believe that Ms. Tran was murdered.
Eventually, investigators determined that the defective airbag had caused Ms. Tran’s fatal injuries. When her family learned that Honda Motor Co. knew of the defects in the airbags, but failed to warn consumers, they filed suit in Orange County, Florida.
This lawsuit is one of several which have been filed against either Takata, Honda, or both corporations. While most lawsuits have settled out of court for undisclosed terms, the Tran lawsuit is the first to allege that Honda purposefully delayed notifying consumers and regulatory agencies about the airbag defects in their vehicles.
According to the lawsuit, Honda wrote a message on September 22 advising, “Because not all part numbers are available in abundant supply, American Honda asks that dealers do not proactively contact customers at this time.” Ten days later, Ms. Tran’s airbag exploded, killing her.
“Because not all part numbers are available in abundant supply, American Honda asks that dealers do not proactively contact customers at this time.”
–Honda Motors Corp. lawsuit document
The Tran lawsuit comes after a worldwide recall of automobiles containing Takata airbags, affecting more than 14 million vehicles. Experts in the industry believe that the propellant which causes the airbag to deploy can degrade in hot or humid weather, causing the airbag to be expelled with too much force. The additional force can break apart the airbag’s housing, which results in shards of metal being driven out of the bag and into the driver or passenger.
The attorneys at Bailey & Oliver continue to investigate reports of injuries and deaths caused by defective airbags. If you or your loved one was injured after an accident, our office wants to help you protect your legal rights.
Call 479-202-5200 today, or use our case evaluation form for a free claim review.