The Morgan & Morgan law firm announced Tuesday it will begin investigating the Ford Motor Company's role in the death of a man in Pensacola after an airbag lethally expelled shrapnel into his body.
On July 7, Hayden Jones Jr. was in a car crash on Mobile Highway near Boulder Avenue when his Takata airbag exploded and shot shrapnel through his body, according to a news release from the firm.
"'At just 23 years old, Mr. Jones' young life was cut short by the catastrophic failure and explosion of a device that was meant to protect him," attorneys John Morgan and Andrew Parker Felix said in the statement. "We believe that Ford bears the brunt of the responsibility for Mr. Jones' untimely death."
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Original report: FHP: 23-year-old Pensacola man killed in collision on Mobile Highway
The release also noted that Morgan and Parker Felix are the attorneys representing Jones' family.
Jones was driving near the intersection of Boulder Avenue and Mobile Highway in his 2006 Ford Ranger when a sedan failed to yield and pulled in front of Jones, causing him to crash, according to a statement released by Florida Highway Patrol Public.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Tens of millions of vehicles with Takata air bags are under recall" and that "long-term exposure to high heat and humidity can cause these air bags to explode when deployed."
Consumers can search to see if their vehicle is subject to this, or any other, recall by entering their VIN number at nhtsa.gov/recalls.
Defective Takata airbags have been blamed for at least 17 deaths in the U.S. alone, and more than 300 injuries have been linked to exploding Takata airbag inflators, according to Morgan & Morgan.
Consumer Reports noted that "the heart of the problem is the airbag's inflator, a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers, which in some cases has ignited with explosive force. If the inflator housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin."
The Morgan & Morgan statement said, "When automakers choose profits over consumer safety, it costs innocent lives. We will continue to investigate this crash, work to hold all responsible parties accountable, and obtain justice for Mr. Jones, his family and those who love and miss him dearly."
Benjamin Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8578
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Morgan & Morgan investigating Pensacola Ford Takata airbag death