South Carolina Crash Victim’s Family sues Ford, Takata

Following up on an earlier post on our blog, Ford and Takata have been sued by the family of a South Carolina man who was killed in a crash. According to KNBC-TV Los Angeles, Joel Knight was killed when a large shard of metal from his airbag entered his neck after a collision with a cow on his way home from work. The Knight family's tragedy is the latest in a long string of deaths and injuries linked to defective Takata airbags.


Joel Knight, 52, was driving home from work three days before Christmas in Kershaw, South Carolina, when he struck a cow in the road. His air bag deployed, rupturing with such force investigators say a large metal shard killed him. A preliminary autopsy report says the cause of Knight' death was a "fatal projectile of the neck probably from the air bag."


The air bags in Knight's 2006 Ford Ranger were manufactured by Takata Corp. of Japan. Knight was the 10th person killed by a Takata air bag, federal regulators say; more than 100 people are believed to have been injured by the defective airbags. As a result, carmakers have recalled more than 20 million cars and trucks nationwide. Knight's car had been recalled for the passenger side air bag, but not the driver's side air bag -- until this Monday, when Ford expanded its recall to include the vehicles with the same model driver's side air bags as the one in Knight's truck


The Knight family has sued Ford and Takata, saying they knew about a 2014 death in Malaysia involving the same air bag model found in Knight's Ford Ranger. The lawsuit claims the Malaysia death lead to an earlier recall in 61 countries.


Although the number of vehicles already recalled is staggering, Mr. Knight's death shows that Takata, and the auto manufacturers who utilized the defective airbags, have not been proactive enough in removing these dangerous airbags from vehicles. This neglect is inexcusable considering the product at issue only exists to prevent injury and save lives in the event of a crash.


A list of vehicles already recalled for defective Takata airbags can be found here.