The United States District Court in the Eastern District Of Michigan has announced that Takata is commencing its restitution payouts to victims.
The Detroit News reports that the first round of payments, which totals almost $9.8 million, will go to 102 recipients.
A special master appointed to oversee the restitution fund calculated the payments to be received by victims by awarding points worth $64.34 each to drivers who filed claims about suffering injuries due to faulty Takata airbag inflators as well as the specific injuries suffered by each. Payouts in this first round range from $643.4 to $608,013.
Almost 70 million vehicles across the United States have been recalled in recent years due to faulty Takata airbag inflators, representing about 13 per cent of all registered vehicles in the country. The exploding inflators have been linked to at least 24 deaths worldwide, 16 of which occurred in the States, where more than 250 injuries have also been reported.
As part of the largest automotive safety recall in history, Takata pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was required to pay nearly $1 billion in criminal penalties. Of this fine, $125 million will be used for injured individuals who haven’t reached separate settlements. A total of $850 million will be made available to automakers to cover the costs of the recall and replacements while the remaining $25 million is a fine.
The propellant used by the faulty inflators can become unstable over time and explode, sending metal shrapnel in the direction of drivers and passengers. A further 20 million new vehicles fitted with them are tipped to be recalled in the next few years.