The first round of payments from a fund to compensate injury victims of defective Takata airbag inflators could hit $9.8 million, court records show.
Takata, under a 2017 plea agreement and settlement with the U.S. government, agreed to pay $125 million in restitution to victims who suffered personal injury caused by the malfunction of its airbag inflators — which can explode and send shrapnel into the vehicle — and who have not yet resolved their claims.
Takata Restitution Funds Special Master Eric D. Green is requesting court approval of $9.8 million in payments to 102 recipients, according to a Tuesday filing. The proposed payments range from $643.40 to $608,013. The payments were determined by a calculation that awarded points worth $64.34 each to people who filed injury claims from the faulty airbags, according to court records. Points were assigned "based on injury categories in an injury valuation matrix and certain other factors," the filing said.
Takata's inflators prompted the largest recall in global automotive history, forcing 19 automakers to recall some 100 million airbags worldwide. At least 24 fatalities and about 290 injuries globally have been linked to the inflators. U.S. automakers and regulators have been working for several years to get all affected airbags recalled and replaced.
Takata eventually filed for bankruptcy and was acquired for $1.6 billion by Chinese-owned Key Safety Systems, which has since renamed the business Joyson Safety Systems. Takata pleaded guilty to wire fraud as part of a $1 billion settlement that included restitution funds for automakers and victims.
In addition to the $125 million for injury victims, the settlement requires Takata to pay $850 million in restitution to automakers for recall and replacement costs. The remaining $25 million is a fine, the court said.