Lawsuit Against Honda, Takata Claims Civic’s Exploding Airbag Left Woman Paralyzed

The ripples of last year’s massive Takata airbag recalls continue to spread, with a new lawsuit this week against Takata and Honda Motor Company claiming that an exploding replacement airbag paralyzed a Florida woman from the neck down after her Honda Civic was involved in a collision.

The lawsuit filed this week on behalf of a 76-year-old Florida woman seeks millions of dollars in damages, claiming that the two companies hid the potentially dangerous defects in Takata airbag systems for more than a decade, reports the Los Angeles Times.

According to the lawsuit, both Honda and Takata, along with several of their subsidiary companies, were aware of the grave safety dangers associated with the defective airbags through consumer complaints, claims, and lawsuits, the law firm representing the woman says in a press release.

But despite that, executives allegedly concealed the full extent of the defects from consumers and decided instead to quickly settle claims and lawsuits rather than reveal the airbag defect to the public. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants broke the law by failing to report, under reporting, or omitting important report information regarding the defect to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

On June 15, the woman ran a red light going 20 mph in June in her 2001 Honda Civic, colliding with an SUV.The driver’s side airbag inflated too forcefully, the suit alleges, paralyzing her from the neck down.

The airbag was a replacement installed in her car in 2009 as part of an initial recall, her lawyer says.

“We want to make sure this kind of conduct — of hiding information and defects — never happens again,” he said.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages for medical care, mental anguish, pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages against Honda and Takata.

Honda said in a statement that it inspected the airbag after the crash and found “no indication of any defect.”

“Honda’s ongoing investigation into this crash thus far has uncovered no facts or substantiating evidence in the police investigation to support the defect allegations made by the plaintiff,” the company said.

So far, around 6 million Honda vehicles in the U.S. have been affected by Takata airbags, with about 2.8 million having been officially recalled. The company agreed early this year to pay NHTSA a $70 million fine for failing to report over 1700 injuries and deaths over a period of 11 years.

The issue isn’t isolated in Honda vehicles — 11 million vehicles in the U.S. have been affected, including cars made by Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford, and BMW.

Honda and Takata sued by woman claiming airbag paralyzed her [Los Angeles Times]