Takata airbags back in forefront in suit filed by Friendswood man

By John Severance | Jun 9, 2017

HOUSTON – Last year, Friendswood resident Victor Guerrero was driving his 2002 Honda in the Houston area when he slammed into the back of another car.

According to a suit filed in in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, the airbag deployed and "exploded into his face, launching shrapnel into his neck." Guerrero suffered a neck wound and was taken into surgery where doctors stitched him up.

On May 10, Guerrero’s attorney Robert C. Hilliard of Hilliard Muñoz Gonzales LLP in Corpus Christi filed a civil suit against the maker of the airbag and automobile.

Listed as defendants were Takata Corp., TK Holdings, Honda Motor Co., Honda R and D Co. and American Honda Motor Co.

The suit claims because of the "explosion" of the Takata Airbag Inflator, shrapnel was expelled, which caused Guerrero to suffer facial lacerations. He is looking for punitive damages because of the pain, suffering, facial lacerations, scarring and loss of enjoyment of life he sustained in the crash.

The suit includes claims for general negligence, gross negligence, reckless conduct and breach of warranty.

"The claims asserted herein arise out of the design, selection, inspection, testing, manufacture, assembly, equipping, marketing, distribution, and sale of an uncrashworthy, defective, and unreasonably dangerous automobile and automobile airbag system," the suit states.

The complaint detailed the crash, which occurred June 29, 2016. According to the suit, Guerrero was traveling at night on a road along Gulf Freeway in Houston. The car in front of him slammed on its brakes and Guerrero smashed into the back of the car. The airbag deployed and Guerrero suffered a neck wound.

"During the incident, the vehicle’s frontal driver airbag inflator exploded internally and with excessive force and caused the metal canister housing the airbag to rupture and expel sharp pieces of shrapnel towards plaintiff’s face causing injury," the complaint said.

The complaint went on to describe a long history of the Takata airbags and the vehicles in which they have been deployed. 

The suit claims that Takata and Honda knew of the problems with the airbags at least 13 years ago but it did nothing to prevent it.

Through the years, there have been numerous recalls and lawsuits.

"Takata kept making defective airbags; and Honda kept putting them in its vehicles while marketing them as highly safe and of high quality," according to the suit.

The suit makes six claims for relief and there is a request for a jury trial.

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