Remember a few years ago when news stories started appearing about people being injured or killed by shrapnel from their car’s airbags?
Those were the early stages of the Takata airbag scandal, which has reached a new milestone this week. Four car companies have agreed to settle with the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit for $553 million.
Japanese automotive supplier Takata has made airbags, seatbelts and other automotive equipment since 1933. But over the last 10 years, the company’s name as been associated more closely with injuries and deaths caused by airbags they produced.
This week, Toyota, BMW, Subaru and Mazda agreed to settle a case brought by people who felt they acted too slowly in the face of the defective airbags. People who own or lease vehicles affected by the airbag recall could be eligible for compensation, including up to $500 in cash and a rental car.
The money is meant to help people who owned or leased certain cars with expenses such as lost wages, towing charges, child car and rental car costs, according to the New York Times. These are expenses they would have incurred while waiting for their vehicle’s faulty airbag to be replaced or fixed.
The deal will also provide money for campaigns to urge car owners to get their airbags replaced.
This settlement deal has not been finalized yet, so we don’t have information right now about how to find out if you’re eligible for compensation. We’ll update you as soon as we learn more (the deal has to be approved by a judge in Miami).
Here’s what you need to know:
- 9.2 million vehicles affected
- $278.5 million to be paid out
- 2.3 million vehicles affected
- $131 million to be paid out
- 2.6 million vehicles affected
- $68 million to be paid out
- 1.7 million vehicles affected
- $76 million to be paid out
And there could be more to come. The plaintiffs in the case are continuing to pursue their claims against Ford, Honda and Nissan.
Remember: Takata already agreed to a $1 billion plea deal in a criminal case, which included $125 million to compensate people injured by the airbags. The airbags are believed to be responsible for 16 deaths, 11 of which occurred in the United States. They’ve also been linked to roughly 180 injures in the U.S.
The faulty airbags were installed in cars from model year 2002 to 2015. Recalls are expected to impact 42 million vehicles in the U.S.
If you haven’t looked up your vehicle on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website yet, we suggest you do so ASAP. Their site provides a detailed list of vehicles affected by the recall and outlines the exact steps you need to take if you think your vehicle may need new airbags.