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Takata Airbags Deemed Responsible for Death of Holiday Woman

On July 19th, a woman was involved in a crash close to Tampa. She later died from her injuries. An investigation was launched, and the findings recently released. The conclusion is far from comforting.

Nichol Lynn Barker, a 34-year-old Holiday resident, was behind the wheel of her 2002 Honda Accord when an unnamed 19-year-old driving a 1999 Pontiac Firebird cut in front of her car. Barker’s car collided with the Firebird, and the airbags in the Accord inflated. The investigation into the incident revealed that the Accord, like many Hondas currently on the road, was equipped with airbags made by the Japanese company Takata. Throughout the past few years, these airbags are behind the deaths of 12 people in the USA. The investigation concluded that the Accord’s airbag inflator exploded, resulting in blunt force trauma to Barker’s head. It is believed that this trauma is what killed her.

Currently, cars equipped with the Takata inflator are part of the largest automotive recall in the history of USA automotive recalls. Nearly 42 million vehicles are included in the recall, and the total number of potentially faulty inflators inside these vehicles is estimated to lie around 69 million. It is believed that the airbag inflators used by the Takata company employ a chemical known as ammonium nitrate as the explosive property that inflates the airbags. In areas that experience extreme heat and humidity, this chemical begins to destabilize. Although it is impossible to tell without taking the airbag apart, the destabilized inflators are at a high risk to explode too violently when involved in a collision. In these cases, instead of a cushioning airbag, the victims’ bodies encounter pieces from a metal canister.

It is estimated that nearly 98 million cars are still contain the affected Takata inflators. Any individual who believes that they possess a car with a Takata airbag, especially those manufactured between 2001 and 2003, are highly encouraged to return their vehicles to a licensed dealer where the Takata company will replace the inflators with non-malfunctioning parts at no cost to the car’s owners.

The investigation into Barker’s death was conducted by both the Florida Highway Patrol, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Honda.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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