The Takata Air Bag victims will never be fully compensated.
Interesting juxtaposition of stories over the last couple weeks relating to the Takata air bag disaster. I had a previous post on this mess.
First, in late June, Takata Corporation filed for bankruptcy protection in light of the exposure it faces due to its defective airbags, which resulted in numerous deaths and serious injuries. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in the United States and Japan. Takata listed more then $10 billion in liabilities including claims from Honda and Toyota growing out of the their use of Takata airbags. “We were facing a severe situation and weren’t able to wait any longer,” said Takata Chairman Shigehisa Takada. The company will be purchased by Key Safety. The purchase will exclude the assets and operations related to the Takata’s manufacture and sale of ammonium nitrate air-bag deflators. Those deflators degrade over time and result in uncontrolled explosions sending metal debris and shards in driver’s faces. Inexplicably the inflator operations will continue to be run by Takata after the sale but will eventually be shut down.
In January, 2017, Takata admitted to hiding the risks associated with the airbags for 15 YEARS. Ultimately the company agreed to a payment of $1 billion dollars after a US criminal investigation.
And just weeks later, on July 10, 2017, another fatality caused by the exploding airbags was announced. The victim, who was not identified, was working on a 2001 Honda Accord at a Florida area home. The victim activated the airbag inflator and the bag ruptured. The individual died the next day. There have been 12 United States deaths associated with the faulty airbags and 17 worldwide. And countless severe facial injuries.
Of the $1 billion paid in by Takata in the fraud settlement, $850 million will go to automakers. Lawyers hired by the the victims of the defective airbags estimate that their clients will receive only 5-10% of what their case is actually worth as a result of the bankruptcy. That number may tick up slightly depending on what Key Safety pays for the company assets, but just compensation will never occur.