Canadian motorists with vehicles affected by a global airbag recall are taking legal action against Japan-based automotive supplier Takata, seeking billions of dollars in general and punitive damages over airbags that allegedly contain faulty inflator mechanisms that can cause them to deploy with excessive force or explode, spraying vehicle occupants with metal shrapnel.
Three separate class-action lawsuits potentially representing hundreds of thousands of Canadian drivers have been filed in Canadian courts. A fourth Canadian law firm will reportedly file an additional class action in the coming weeks. All of the lawsuits must be certified by a judge, after which they would most certainly be consolidated into one giant class-action lawsuit.
All of the complaints allege that Takata and its subsidiaries knowingly made and sold dangerous, defective airbags for years, failing to tell regulatory authorities and customers about them. The airbags have been installed in vehicles made by several global car manufacturers and have been blamed for at least five deaths and more than 100 injuries.
One of the Canadian lawsuits, filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice by three plaintiffs, seeks $2.4 billion Canadian dollars ($1.9 billion U.S.) for personal injuries, vehicle repairs, and economic losses tied to a devaluation of the vehicles affected by the airbag recalls.
A law firm that filed one of the class actions in the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan estimated the complaints would encompass about 400,000 vehicle owners across Canada.
Takata’s faulty airbags have led to recalls of nearly 17 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers since 2008.