FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky is one of 44 state to reach a settlement with Takata over defective airbags installed in millions of vehicles around the country.
On Thursday, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced the settlement with TK Holdings, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Takata, over allegations that the company concealed safety issues related to the defective airbags.
Beshear says Takata’s faulty airbags were installed in vehicles from 19 different automakers, affecting approximately 480,000 cars in Kentucky.
At least 20 people have died worldwide and hundreds more were injured as a result of the defective airbags.
Beshear says the settlement concludes a multistate investigation alleging Takata knew about several ruptures, which occurred as early as 2004, but didn’t take appropriate action to recall unsafe inflators in the air bags until November 2014.
More than 50 million airbags in more than 37 million vehicles have been recalled but that number is expected to go up.
TK Holdings, Inc.’s parent company also pleaded guilty to manipulating testing data and submitting false and misleading reports to auto manufacturers.
Under the settlement, the airbag maker must cooperate with auto manufacturers to ensure that replacement airbag inflators are made available as quickly as possible.
TK Holdings, Inc. has been ordered to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $650 million. However, the company filed for bankruptcy so Beshear says it was agreed that the penalty would be less so the company could pay consumers who were the victims of the airbag defect.
Kentuckians who have suffered economic loss, not including personal injury or other property damage, can find information about a private class-action lawsuit at, https://www.autoairbagsettlement.com/en.
For consumers with questions about how to make a claim, visit, http://www.takataspecialmaster.com/.
To see if a vehicle is subject to a recall, contact your automobile dealer and check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.