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Honda and Other Automakers Reach Settlements in Takata Class-Action Lawsuits

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Automaker Honda recently agreed to a $605 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit in which plaintiffs sought economic damages for losses suffered as a result of Takata airbag defects. Honda was the automaker most affected by Takata airbag recalls, having implemented more of the products than other automakers.

The agreement follows those already made between consumers and other automakers, including Nissan, Toyota, BMW, Mazda and Subaru. All of these companies will now be helping qualifying consumers to pay for airbag replacements.

Funds Used to Reimburse Consumers for Airbag Replacement Costs

According to a report in the USA Today, the funds from the Honda settlement will be used for a number of purposes. Current and former Honda owners may be eligible for payments of up to $500 apiece, and may have access to a free car rental so they can get the defective airbags in their Honda vehicles replaced. Other expenses, like transportation, towing, lost wages, and childcare costs, may also be reimbursed.

In addition, some of the money will go toward another consumer-alert program to encourage Honda owners to get their vehicles repaired. Though about two-thirds of owners have had their Takata airbags replaced, there are still many more on the road with older, potentially defective airbags.

These airbags may rupture upon deployment, sending small, sharp pieces of shrapnel into the interior of the vehicle. The driver and other vehicle occupants may suffer from knife-like wounds that can lead to life-threatening bleeding. So far, the airbags have been linked to about 18 deaths worldwide and nearly 200 injuries.

The problem has resulted in the largest U.S. auto-related recall of all time. So far, more than 42 million vehicles are affected. The current Honda agreement covers 11.4 million vehicles that have already been recalled for defective Takata airbags, and 5.1 million more that may be recalled in the future.

Five Other Automakers Reach Similar Settlements

Nissan reached a similar settlement agreement in early August, again promising up to $500 in financial aid for qualifying consumers who need to get their airbags replaced, and promising reimbursement for things like rental car use, lost wages, and childcare costs. That agreement also included a new program to encourage more drivers to get their vehicles fixed. The settlement totaled $97.7 million.

Settlements with Toyota, Subaru, BMW and Mazda, as well, have totaled $553 million. All include outreach programs to contact owners and increase the number of airbag repairs completed.

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Takata for their alleged negligence in dealing with this issue, and federally-filed cases were consolidated in the Southern District of Florida in 2015. Though pre-trial proceedings are ongoing there, other lawsuits have been delayed because of Takata’s bankruptcy filing.

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