INTERVIEW. Defective airbag scandal: “Citroën must be held accountable”, proclaims lawyer Christophe Léguevaques

INTERVIEW. Defective airbag scandal: “Citroën must be held accountable”, proclaims lawyer Christophe Léguevaques
INTERVIEW. Defective airbag scandal: “Citroën must be held accountable”, proclaims lawyer Christophe Léguevaques

the essential
Toulouse lawyer Christophe Léguevaques is alongside the Garaud family whose son, Serge, 51, died at the wheel of his Citroën C3, in November 2023, after a collision with another vehicle, in the Hautes-Pyrénées.

What do your clients expect, seven months after the death of their son?

My clients want to understand the conditions of the death of their son, Serge Garaud. On November 18, 2023, in the Hautes-Pyrénées, after a slight impact with another vehicle on a hillside path, at reduced speed. This impact triggered the airbag and the driver died. The gendarmerie services compared this outbreak with what had already happened in the Antilles, and alerted the vehicle and engine market surveillance service (SSMVM) in Nanterre. It was a signal that Citroën could be held accountable.

Is this investigation just beginning?

This is the first case in mainland France to trigger an alert to the relevant services and which is now the subject of a judicial investigation. The airbag in question was a Takata airbag, a brand unfortunately known throughout the world since 2010-2015 as being a brand containing a design defect that could cause a stronger explosion than was expected. This overpower can cause considerable damage.

What can we expect in terms of responsibilities from Citroën?

Takata, a Japanese multinational, went bankrupt in 2017. We must first verify with certainty whether the death of Serge Garaud is indeed linked to the explosion of this airbag. Next, is this equipment listed as dangerous? And then, what was the degree of knowledge of the dangerousness of the product by Citroën which manufactured the vehicle by integrating these airbags? And finally, has Citroën, which has been aware of similar accidents elsewhere than in mainland France, taken precautions to prevent this from happening again? Was this knowledge reduced or minimized by Citroën to avoid liability being sought?

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