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Cause of deadly defect in Takata airbags still uncertain

It has been several months since most major automakers have recalled a total of 17 million vehicles due to defective airbags. Readers likely heard about this massive recall, which focused on airbags made by auto parts giant Takata. It came to light that the airbags had the tendency to inflate with too much force, causing metal and plastic shards to fly into the bodies of drivers and passengers after a car accident.

At least five people have been killed and more than 100 have been injured by these defective airbags, according to USA TODAY. But despite Takata working for months to determine it, the exact cause of this terrible defect remains unknown. This means that nobody can say for sure whether the replacement airbags are safer.

Experts believe that the chemicals that triggered the defective airbags to inflate were likely to blame. A sensor in the vehicle sets of a chemical charge when a crash is about to happen. The process causes nitrogen gas to inflate the airbag.

Takata uses ammonium nitrate to trigger the inflation. This chemical is used in bombs, due to its volatility, especially at high temperatures. However, nobody has officially said that ammonium nitrate is to blame for the injuries.

Cases like this show that it can take a long time to figure out why a certain product is defective. But in court, generally all victims must show is that the manufacturer made a defective product that caused their injuries. When successful, a product liability claim helps victims pay damages like medical bills and lost income.

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