Nermina Alimanovic and Elvir Islamovic allege that when the airbag in their 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-250 ruptured during a collision in November, it sent shrapnel into their faces and bodies.
Automakers continue to face legal claims tied to airbags produced by Japan’s Takata Corp. Its series of airbag recalls led to the company filing for bankruptcy in 2017 and spurred lawsuits by consumers and accident victims. The airbags can malfunction and send shards of metal at drivers and passengers.
“This is apparently the first rupture case confirmed against Mercedes,” said Andrew Felix, attorney for the plaintiffs. “Mercedes for years has told consumers that this would not be a problem because their airbags would not rupture.”
Daimler believes the lawsuit is without merit and intends to “vigorously” defend against it, the automaker said in an emailed statement. It has been one of the least-affected companies by the Takata saga. Of the roughly 1.26 million recalled Takata airbags in Mercedes-Benz cars, about 60% have been fixed, according to figures from U.S. regulators.
At least 24 deaths and 240 injuries have been linked to defective Takata airbags, the plaintiffs said in the complaint. The incidents date back to at least 2003 and involve vehicles made by Acura, BMW, Chevrolet, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, and Toyota, the plaintiffs said.
Daimler “knew about the Takata airbag inflator’s defectively dangerous condition for several years prior to the incident that forms the basis of this lawsuit,” the plaintiffs allege.
Felix said his 25 year-old client, Alimanovic, was in the passenger seat and suffered a brain injury and lost an eye due to the airbag rupture. “She’s mentally and physically scarred,” Felix said. “This whole defect was preventable.”
In February 2016, Daimler announced a recall of about 705,000 Mercedes cars and about 136,000 Daimler vans in the U.S. due to issues with Takata airbags.
(Updates with Daimler’s statement in the fifth paragraph.)
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