Published on November 15th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Woman Suffers Permanent Throat Injury In Accident Involving Takata Airbag
Motley Rice LLC, one of the largest plaintiffs’ firms in America, has filed a new product liability action in the District Court for Salt Lake County, Utah on behalf of Randi Johnston of Centerville, Utah. The suit alleges serious, permanent, life-scarring and post-crash personal injuries as a result of the alleged overly volatile explosion of the driver’s side Takata PSDI inflator from which Randi’s head and neck were pierced razor-like metal shrapnel, severing her trachea and causing severe damage to her vocal cords. Randi is currently unable to speak normally and her long-term prognosis is unknown.
On September 28, Randi, 25-years-old, was driving her 2003 Honda Civic EX on I-15 going to work when the crash occurred in North Salt Lake. “I noticed smoke coming into my car immediately after my crash. Adrenaline kicked in, so I unbuckled my seatbelt and started to get out of my car. Before I was able to do so, the driver of the car in front of me ran over and immediately applied pressure to my throat and leaned me forward. Later I would learn what had happened to me; that my throat had been lacerated and torn open by shrapnel from the airbag in my car, and my good Samaritan was a former Army medic. This metal fragment didn’t just cut me…it lodged itself so deeply into my throat that even the ER physicians who treated me at the hospital didn’t know it was there until my throat was x-rayed. The doctors told me later that if this thing had cut into my throat a few millimeters differently, left or right, it would have severed a major artery…I might not have even made it to the hospital. They had never seen an injury quite like it, and his actions likely saved my life that morning,” states Randi Johnston.
“I’m beyond thankful to be here today, despite the severe physical and emotional challenges that will face me for the rest of my life. However, the idea that people unknowingly continue to get into cars with these dangerous airbags every day sickens me. I hope my story will help to spread much-needed awareness that these recalls need everyone’s attention and work to get resolved nationwide so no one else suffers like I have,” said Johnston. “I could have died on the side of the road that morning, surrounded by strangers and choking on my own blood. No one should have to experience that. If it weren’t for the injuries to my throat, I would have walked away from that accident. Instead I left in an ambulance, and spent several days in the ICU, on a respirator, half-conscious and terrified. And, I have physical scars to remind me of that day that I must look at every time I see my face in a mirror. I don’t even know if I will ever be able to speak again! My life will never be the same.”
Purchased used in Utah, Randi only owned the car for about six months before the accident. Reports run on the vehicle indicate that the car was taken to Stockton 12 Honda dealer in Utah by a previous owner, hours before Randi took possession of it on March 28, for a routine inspection. However, during the routine inspection, Stockton 12 failed to perform internal notice directives for the airbag inflator and the airbag was not replaced.
The driver-side airbag in her car was recalled in December 2014 and the passenger-side airbag was recalled on Sept. 26, 2015. Randi has yet to receive any official notifications of these recalls.