Family files lawsuit after teen driver killed by Takata airbag in crash

FORT BEND COUTY, Texas - A lawsuit has been filed in the death of a Fort Bend County teenager who died when her Takata airbag exploded.

The family of Huma Hanif filed a lawsuit alleging her 2002 Honda Civic had a faulty Takata airbag system when she rear-ended another car on FM 762 at Gonyo Road on March 31.

"It is just hard to accept that I will never be able to hug her, hold her or tell her how much I love her," victim's sister, Uzma Hanif, said.

The family spoke out Wednesday in memory of their late sister.

"There's a piece of metal missing in here, and unfortunately that piece of metal is what caused Huma's fatal injury," attorney Mo Aziz said.

Along with Takata, the family also named Honda and the companies that sold and maintained Huma Hanif's vehicle in the lawsuit.

"I would also like to urge Takata and Honda to take further steps to address the lethal problem associated with their airbags," Fazian Hanif, the victim's father, said.

Aziz also blames the use of ammonium nitrate, which is a substance inside the airbag that is meant to inflate it.

"I don't think there should be any doubt in anybody's mind that this material is improper to be used in an airbag," Aziz said.

Deputies said in a news conference earlier this month that a metal piece from the airbag cut and killed Hanif. They said she should have survived the crash, if not for the airbag.

"There is no doubt that the Takata air bag inside her 2002 Honda Civic failed and fired a sharp piece of jagged metal into her throat at point-blank range, from less than two feet away," Sheriff Troy Nehls said. "Our investigation revealed that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the right neck area, which severed her jugular vein and carotid artery."

Nehls went on to say that the piece of metal found in Hanif's neck came from the airbag in her car.

The Sheriff's Department said she died within a matter of seconds.

Takata has been the target of controversy over a number of deaths linked to faulty airbags.

Her  brother said Hanif had dreams of going to college and becoming a nurse. She was a senior at George Ranch High School.

 

Hanif is the 10th known death in the U.S. from a Takata inflator and the 11th worldwide. More than 100 people have been hurt as a result of the malfunction. The air bags are the subject of the largest automotive recall in history. Check if your car made the recall list online at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

Honda issued its own statement reading Hanif's car was part of this and other recalls adding:

"Multiple mailed recall notices were sent over the course of several years to registered owners of this vehicle, including the current registered owner. Our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed."

[WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTO OF HANIF'S DEPLOYED AIRBAG]

[WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTO OF HANIF'S DEPLOYED AIRBAG]

Takata inflators can explode with too much force and spew shrapnel at drivers and passengers. So far 14 automakers have recalled 24 million U.S. vehicles in what is now the largest auto recall in the country's history. About 7.1 million inflators have been replaced.

American Honda released a statement that read, in part: "American Honda continues to urge owners of Honda and Acura vehicles affected by the Takata airbag recalls to get their vehicles repaired at authorized dealers as soon as possible.  Vehicle owners can check their vehicles' recall status online at for Honda and Acura."

Hanif is the second person in the Houston area to be killed by faulty Takata airbags.

In January 2015, 35-year-old Carlos Solis died in low-speed crash near Spring High School. He was driving a 2002 Honda Accord.

His family is suing Honda, Takata and the dealership that sold the car.

Safercar.Gov issued a list of the Takata airbag recalls.  The list includes:

  • BMW
  • FCA (Chrysler)
  • Daimler Trucks North America
  • Daimler Vans USA LLC
  • Ford
  • General Motors (GM)
  • Honda
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Ram
  • Subaru
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen (VW)

Click here for more information.

Copyright 2016 by KPRC Click2Houston. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.