South Carolina: Takata airbag settlements keep details from other victims
Some disturbing news on the Takata airbag news:
Confidential settlements over defective Takata Corp. air bags are sealing off relevant information that other victims could use to pursue injury claims.
While the accords make financial sense for the settling parties, defendants — which include Takata,Honda Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV — also gain an advantage by keeping damaging information out the hands of outsiders interested in bringing lawsuits.
The quick, secret deals, a cornerstone of product liability litigation across industries, help explain why years after the first recalls so much remains unknown about defects linked to four U.S. deaths. The few cases filed have generally been resolved before victims’ lawyers acquired evidence.
Five of a dozen lawsuits reviewed by Bloomberg News were settled before information could be revealed in courts. One of the cases is being reviewed for a possible settlement, while one is in mediation and another was dropped. None has gone to trial.
The lack of information deepens the confusion surrounding an escalating crisis. Recalls of more than 7 million vehicles by at least 10 carmakers have left drivers unsure about whether they’re at risk. Safety advocates blame the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for not doing enough.