Personal Injury Blog

Justice Department Accepts Plea Deal From Takata For Defrauding Consumers on Faulty Airbags

By: Allan M. Siegel

Earlier this month, the United States Justice Department reached a deal with the Takata Corporation of Japan, which has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and pay $1 billion for its criminal activities. (At the same time that this deal was reached, the Justice Department separately obtained the indictments of three executives of Takata Corporation for the same criminal conduct.)

Takata supplies airbag equipment to automotive manufacturers. The problem is that since about 2000, Takata knew that its airbags were testing badly – that the inflator devices were not performing to specifications, in some cases rupturing and causing airbags to explode forcefully and unexpectedly.

Airbag Injury LawyerHowever, rather than admit the error, Takata falsified its testing data for years, and its employees even discussed with each other in emails their ongoing fraud. As a result of the defects in Takata’s products, at least 18 people worldwide (11 in the United States) were killed, and more than 180 injured. For example, Patricia Mincey, a Florida woman, was catastrophically injured and paralyzed from the neck down when a Takata airbag inflator forcefully exploded in her Honda Civic in a minor motor vehicle collision in June 2014. Ms. Mincey later died of complications related to her injuries.

The Justice Department’s achievement is good news, but the civil justice system, which directly obtains compensation for the victims of fraud and negligence, also plays a valuable role. If you have been injured due to a defective component in an automobile, you should contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., for a free consultation.