Takata Corp. and Honda are facing a new wrongful-death lawsuit filed in the United States by a Malaysian man whose wife was killed by shrapnel blasting from a defective Takata airbag.
In his lawsuit, Dr. Abdullah Shamshir Abdul Mokti, a Malaysian national, says he wants the airbag manufacturer and Japanese automaker to disclose more about the dangers of the airbags, which are prone to deploy with deadly force in fender benders, parking lot bumps, and other minor collisions.
Dr. Shamshir’s 29-year-old wife, Nida Fatin Mat Asis, who was also a doctor, died April 16, 2016, when her 2006 Honda City hit a pole and skidded into a ditch in Sabah, Malaysia. An autopsy found a metal fragment of the Takata airbag’s container had become lodged in the base of her skull, killing her almost instantly.
“At the time of the Incident, Dr. Nida was unimpaired, she was properly wearing her seatbelt, and she was driving the Subject Vehicle within the posted speed limits,” the lawsuit says, according to The Detroit News.
“I refuse to let my wife die in vain,” Dr. Shamshir said in a statement released by his U.S. lawyer. “By telling her story, we hope Takata and Honda will do more, particularly in Malaysia, to notify everyone with impacted cars that they are potentially deadly.”
Dr. Nida is one of the 17 people worldwide whose deaths have been tied directly to Takata airbag malfunctions and one of five in Malaysia. Takata airbags are also responsible for about 180 injuries globally.
Takata airbags have prompted the largest auto recall in U.S. history, encompassing about 70 million individual airbag units in 42 million vehicles made by 19 different auto manufacturers. More than 100 million airbag units have been recalled worldwide.
To date, all but one of the Takata airbag deaths have occurred in Honda vehicles.
Dr. Nida’s father, Mat Asis Mahnoon, told the Associated Press that the family decided to sue Takata after it pleaded guilty to charges of fraud in the U.S. and agreed to pay more than $1 billion in penalties for concealing the airbag defect from federal regulators and consumers.
The lawsuit was filed in a U.S. District Court in Detroit. Foreign nationals have a right to pursue damages against Takata in the U.S. if the airbag unit that caused injury or death was made in the United States. Dr. Shamshir’s lawsuit claims the airbag that killed his wife was manufactured in Takata’s Georgia plant.
According to the AP, Dr. Shamshir and his wife weren’t aware there was a defect in their Honda vehicle and Honda never notified them of a recall.