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Can I sue if my car has a defective airbag?

Most people are aware of the recent international controversy surrounding the safety of vehicle airbags. Generally, concern has risen that some vehicle airbags can explode with such force that they could potentially expel metal fragments and harm vehicle occupants. Defective airbags manufactured by the Japanese company Takata have been linked to at least six deaths worldwide.

It is important to know that the federal agency tasked with tracking and enforcing vehicle recalls has not yet reported any such incidents in Canada. Transport Canada says that vehicle manufacturers are responsible for initiating those recalls, not the parts manufacturers. In the U.S., almost 34 million vehicles have been recalled due to concerns related to airbag safety.

You need to know that under the legal concept of products liability you may be entitled to seek compensation for physical injuries created by an unnecessarily dangerous product or a defective part. You may also be able to seek compensation in some cases where your injuries are only economic.

A good example of this might be a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of consumers who have experienced a diminishment in the value of their vehicles due to concerns related to airbag safety. As one might imagine, car dealerships, car rental companies or even vehicle fleet service business might suffer significant financial harm if airbag safety concerns scare away enough potential buyers or users of their products and services.

Currently, there are five class-action lawsuits in Canada seeking damages of up to $650 million related to adverse economic effects caused by vehicle airbag safety concerns. It may be in your best interest to consult with an Ontario products liability attorney if airbag related issues have caused you any physical injuries. Your attorney may also be able to advise you regarding potential litigation for any economic damages you may have incurred.

Source: Transport Canada, "Takata recalls in Canada," June 18, 2015

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