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TAKATA AIRBAG INDIVIDUAL RESTITUTION FUND


Frequently Asked Questions

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These Frequently Asked Questions will be updated periodically to provide current information regarding the Individual Restitution Fund and compensation process.

GENERAL INFORMATION

1. What is the Individual Restitution Fund (the “IRF”)?

The IRF is a fund set up to compensate individuals who have been injured or suffered wrongful death as a result of a malfunctioning Takata Airbag Inflator. On February 27, 2017, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (the “District Court”) entered a Restitution Order in the criminal case United States v. Takata Corp., Case No. 16-cr-20810-04 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 27, 2017) requiring Takata to pay restitution in the amount of $125 million to individuals who suffered or will suffer personal injury or wrongful death caused by the malfunction of a Takata airbag inflator (the “Individual Restitution Fund” or “IRF”). On March 29, 2017, Takata paid the $125 million to the Individual Restitution Fund. In addition, the Restitution Order requires Takata to fund the cost to administer the Individual Restitution Fund. For more information, please visit the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-edmi/takata-airbag-inflator-matter-16-cr-20810, or the United States Department of Justice website at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-vns/case/takata-airbag-inflator-matter.

The District Court appointed Professor Eric D. Green as the Special Master of the IRF (the “Special Master”).

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2. What is the “IRF Methodology”?

The IRF Methodology was created by the Special Master and approved by the District Court in order to, among other things, develop and administer the Claimant compensation process and to make recommendations to the District Court regarding the distribution of the IRF among eligible Claimants. The IRF Methodology contains the procedures and standards for personal injury and wrongful death compensation claims.

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3. How does the Individual Restitution Fund relate to the Takata airbags Multi-District Litigation?

Numerous class action suits and some personal injury suits against Takata have been consolidated in a multi-district litigation (“MDL”) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Case No. 15-md-02599-FAM. The criminal case against Takata and the administration of the Individual Restitution Fund are separate proceedings from the MDL.

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4. How does the Individual Restitution Fund relate to the Takata bankruptcy proceedings?

The criminal case against Takata and the administration of the Individual Restitution Fund are separate proceedings from Takata’s bankruptcy cases in Delaware and Japan.

Takata’s main U.S. subsidiary, TK Holdings Inc., and certain of its affiliates have commenced cases under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The Chapter 11 cases have been jointly administered for procedural purposes only at Case No. 17-11375 (BLS). Information on the Chapter 11 cases can be found at https://restructuring.primeclerk.com/takata/.

In coordination with the commencement of the Chapter 11 cases, Takata, together with Takata Kyushi K.K. and Takata Service Corporation, commenced civil rehabilitation proceedings under the Civil Rehabilitation Act of Japan in the 20th Department of the Civil Division of the Tokyo District Court. Information about the Civil Rehabilitation Act proceeding can be found at http://www.takata.com.

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5. What is the Takata Airbag Tort Compensation Trust Fund (“TATCTF”)?

The TATCTF is a fund set up separately from the IRF to compensate individuals who have been injured or suffered wrongful death caused by a malfunctioning Takata Airbag Inflator. Takata’s main U.S. subsidiary, TK Holdings Inc., and certain of its affiliates (collectively, the "US Takata Debtors") filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (the “Bankruptcy Court”). The TATCTF was established in connection with TK Holdings Inc.'s Plan of Reorganization, which was confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court on February 21, 2018. The TATCTF remains subject to the jurisdiction of the Bankruptcy Court.

The TATCTF compensates individuals for personal injuries and wrongful death caused by a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect, if their claims could have been brought against the US Takata Debtors.

The Bankruptcy Court appointed Professor Eric D. Green as Trustee of the TATCTF. Professor Green is also the Special Master of the IRF.

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6. What is the “TDP”?

The Trust Distribution Procedures (the “TDP”) were created in connection with the trust established as part of Takata Chapter 11 Bankruptcy case in order to provide an efficient process to fairly and reasonably compensate valid personal injuries and wrongful deaths caused by a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect. The TDP provides procedures for valuing and paying personal injury and wrongful death claims by the TATCTF.

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7. What is a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect?

A Takata Airbag Inflator Defect is the rupture or aggressive deployment of a Takata phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate (“PSAN”) airbag inflator. As provided in the TDP, it is a malfunction of a Takata airbag inflator resulting from a manufacturing and/or design defect that occurs in certain Takata inflators because of propellant degradation due to environmental exposure.

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8. Who is the Special Master/Trustee?

Professor Eric D. Green serves as both the Special Master of the IRF and the Trustee of the TATCTF. He was appointed by United States District Court Judge George Caram Steeh in the Eastern District of Michigan to serve as the Special Master to administer IRF Claims and was appointed by the Bankruptcy Court to serve as the Trustee to administer TATCTF Claims. The successor Trustee of the TATCTF is David J. Molton.

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9. Who is the Future Claimant’s Representative (the “FCR”) and what is his role?

The FCR is Roger Frankel. The successor FCR is Richard H. Wyron.

The FCR serves in a fiduciary capacity representing the interests of the holders of TATCTF Claims based upon injuries caused by the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect arising after June 25, 2017 (the "Future Claimants"), the date the bankruptcy petitions of the US Takata Debtors were filed. The Trustee is required to consult with the FCR for certain decisions, including those decisions which impact the amount of funds available to pay Future Claimants. The TDP also provides that the FCR has certain specific roles in connection with the review of Trust Claims.

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10. What is an “OEM”?

An OEM is an Original Equipment Manufacturer, or automobile manufacturer.

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11. What is a “POEM”?

A POEM is a “Participating Original Equipment Manufacturer.” Currently, the only POEM is Honda/Acura. Personal injury and wrongful death claims of individuals against the POEM resulting from the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect are channeled and transferred to the TATCTF for resolution by the Trustee by order of the Bankruptcy Court.

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12. Who is the Claims Administrator?

Garden City Group, LLC, a legal claims administration company, is the Claims Administrator for both the IRF and the TATCTF.

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13. What is Extraordinary Circumstances Review?

Extraordinary Circumstances Review may be requested by a Claimant or may be undertaken by the Special Master/Trustee on his own initiative if the accident, injuries or death involved unique circumstances, unique types of injuries, extraordinary severity or numerosity of injuries, and/or other extraordinary circumstances that require a more comprehensive review and that could warrant additional consideration and/or compensation.

Extraordinary Circumstances Review is referred to as “Extraordinary Review” for IRF Claims and Trust Claims in the IRF Methodology and TDP, respectively; and it is referred to as “Individual Review” for POEM Claims in the TDP.

For Extraordinary Circumstances Review, a vehicle inspection and Independent Medical Examination may be required. Examples of extraordinary circumstances that could serve as the basis for an Extraordinary Circumstances Review include the following:

  • A fatality
  • Loss of vision resulting in blindness in both eyes
  • Special Damages, which are economic damages related to the Claimant’s injuries, including but not limited to, funeral costs, lost earning capacity, and past and future medical care supported by a qualified expert), which exceed $1.5 million in net present value
  • An injury rated 5 or 6 on the Abbreviated Injury Scale (“AIS”)
  • A moderate or severe Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”)
  • Over 50% loss of use of limb or hand
  • Permanent profound hearing loss considering the Specific Adjustment Criteria identified for Permanent Hearing Loss in the TDP
  • Permanent injury to fetus that survives to childhood
  • Spinal injury resulting in partial or full paralysis
  • An injury or combination of injuries not contemplated by the Valuation Schedule and the Scheduled Claim Process in the TDP

Documents necessary to support an Extraordinary Circumstances Review are listed in Attachment A to the Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claim Forms.

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CLAIMS AND CLAIM FORMS

14. How do I get a copy of a Claim Form?

You can obtain a copy of a Personal Injury Claim Form, Wrongful Death Claim Form and Notice of Claim by clicking here.

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15. If I filed a proof of claim in Takata's Chapter 11 Bankruptcy case, do I have to submit a Claim Form to apply for compensation from the IRF and the TATCTF?

Yes, even if you filed a proof of claim in the Bankruptcy case, you must still apply for compensation through the IRF and the TATCTF by submitting a Claim Form and the requisite supporting documentation. Individuals who filed claims in the Bankruptcy are not automatically eligible for compensation from the TATCTF or the IRF, and you will still need to establish your eligibility for compensation in accordance with the IRF Methodology for the IRF and the TDP for the TATCTF. For more information regarding eligibility, please see the FAQs regarding eligibility.

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16. Does it cost anything to file a claim?

There is no cost to filing a claim.

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17. Do I need a lawyer to file a claim?

You are not required to hire a lawyer to file a claim. You may file your claim on your own or with the assistance of a lawyer. However, the decision whether to file a claim and what type of claim to file, as well as completing some portions of the Claim Form, may involve consideration of complex legal issues for which you may want legal advice. If you are filing on your own and you need assistance filing your claim, you may contact the Claims Administrator by email at Questions@TakataAirbagInjuryTrust.com or by phone toll-free at (888) 215-9544. In some cases, the Claims Administrator may be able to provide you with contact information for legal service providers from whom you may be able to obtain legal advice.

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18. What is a Legal Representative?

A Legal Representative, as that term is used in the Claim Form, is different from a lawyer who may represent the person submitting a claim. A Legal Representative may be a personal representative, guardian, conservator, parent (on behalf of a minor), executor of an estate or a similar representative who has been appointed by a court or has other legal authorization to file a Claim Form on behalf of the injured person or the Decedent. If a Legal Representative files a Claim Form, court authorization or legal authorization must be submitted with the Claim Form. Attachment A to the Claim Forms provides examples of acceptable documentation.

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19. Am I able to file a claim on behalf of someone else?

Yes, if you are a Legal Representative, and have court approval or other legal authorization to file a claim on behalf of someone else, you can file a claim for that person. Examples of Legal Representatives include a guardian, conservator, or parent of a minor. In cases involving wrongful death, examples of Legal Representatives include an Administrator of the Decedents’ estate or the Executor of the Decedent’s will. You must submit documentation evidencing the court approval or other legal authorization.

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20. How do I submit my claim?

Your claim can be submitted online, by mail sent to Takata Injury Claim Submission, P.O. Box 10472, Dublin, OH 43017-4072, or by courier sent to Takata Injury Claim Submission, 5151 Blazer Parkway, Suite A, Dublin, OH 43017.

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21. What documentation is needed in order to file a claim?

Attachment A to the Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claim Form provides a list of documents that should be submitted to support your claim. All Claimants must submit documentation indicating the Vehicle Identification Number (“VIN”) of the vehicle involved in the accident. You should review Attachment A carefully, as some types of injuries for POEM Claims and certain claims that involve an Extraordinary Circumstances Review require specific documentation.

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22. Will I be notified if my submission of my Claim Form is missing information?

Yes, if you submit an incomplete Claim Form (for example, if the Claim Form is not signed properly or if insufficient documentation is submitted), a Deficiency Notice will be issued by the Special Master/Trustee with instructions regarding how to cure the deficiencies in your claim. The Claims Administrator will be available to answer questions relating to deficiencies and the curing process. You will have 90 days from receipt of the Deficiency Notice to fix your submission and cure the deficiency.

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23. When can I file my claim?

Claim forms will be available on the Special Master/Trustee’s websites starting May 30, 2018 and may be submitted right away.

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24. What is the deadline to file a claim?

The deadlines for filing a claim are:

  • For a Claim arising out of an accident that occurred prior to April 10, 2018, a Notice of Claim or the completed Claim Form must be postmarked or submitted electronically through the Special Master/Trustee’s website no later than April 10, 2021.
  • For a Claim arising out of an accident occurring on or after April 10, 2018, a Notice of Claim or the completed Claim Form must be postmarked or submitted electronically through the Special Master/Trustee’s website by the later of three years from the date of the accident, or the time allowed under the state law applicable to the claim.
  • Please note that to be considered a Current Claim for purposes of early claim evaluation, a Claim Form must be submitted by August 31, 2018. All Claims submitted after August 31, 2018 will be considered Future Claims. Future Claims will be evaluated and compensated similar to Current Claims.
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25. What is a Notice of Claim?

A Notice of Claim may be submitted to initiate a claim filing for personal injury or wrongful death caused by a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect. A Notice of Claim may be submitted if you are not yet ready to file a completed Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Claim Form, or if you are planning to defer consideration of your claim. Filing a Notice of Claim does not constitute the filing of a Claim Form. To have your claim processed and to receive compensation, a completed Claim Form and all required documentation must be submitted.

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26. If I file a Notice of Claim, do I need to do anything else to complete my claim?

Yes, additional submissions are required. Submitting a Notice of Claim satisfies a Claimant’s compliance with claim filing deadlines. However, to have your claim processed and to receive compensation, a completed Claim Form and all required documentation must be submitted.

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27. What is an “IRF Claim”?

An IRF Claim is a claim submitted for compensation from the IRF, the personal injury and wrongful death restitution fund established under the Restitution Order entered by the District Court on February 27, 2017 in U.S v. Takata Corporation, Case No. 16-cr-20810, in conjunction with Takata’s guilty plea.

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28. What is a “Trust Claim”?

A Trust Claim is a claim submitted for compensation from the TATCTF established in connection with Takata’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Plan of Reorganization, which was confirmed by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on February 21, 2018. A Trust Claim is sometimes also referred to in the TDP and other bankruptcy documents as a “TD Claim.”

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29. What is a “POEM Claim”?

A POEM Claim is a claim submitted for compensation to the TATCTF against a POEM. This is also called a “Participating OEM Claim.” Currently the only POEM is Honda/Acura. Only individuals who suffered personal injury or wrongful death caused by a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect in a Honda/Acura are eligible to file a POEM claim. This is the exclusive remedy for Takata Airbag Inflator Defect claims against Honda/Acura. In other words, you must file any claim you may have against the POEM based on the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect through the TATCTF. You cannot bring this type of claim in the court system unless you first exhaust the procedures provided for in the TDP. It is possible that other OEMs may choose to become a Participating OEM (or POEM) in the future.

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30. Are there different categories of Claim Forms?

Yes. There are two categories of Claim Forms. There is a Personal Injury Claim Form only for personal injuries caused by a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect and a Wrongful Death Claim Form that should only be used if the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect caused a wrongful death. Only one Claim Form may be submitted. That single Claim Form may be used for an IRF Claim, Trust Claim, and/or a POEM Claim.

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31. Do I need to file more than one type of Claim Form?

No, an IRF Claim, Trust Claim and POEM Claim may be submitted simultaneously by completing and filing one copy of either a Personal Injury Claim Form or Wrongful Death Claim Form, whichever is applicable. All three types of claims will be processed and evaluated at the same time according to the procedures established for each type of claim. Please note that each type of claim may require different proof to be eligible for compensation.

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32. What is the difference between a personal injury or wrongful death and an economic loss?

Personal injury and wrongful death claims concern physical harm inflicted on an individual, such as bodily injury or death suffered in a car accident on account of a malfunctioning Takata airbag. Economic loss claims concern other kinds of losses, such as losses sustained by the inability to use your car, diminution in value, the cost required to fix your car or unpaid time off work when getting your car repaired.

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33. What is the difference between Current and Future Claims?

For IRF and Trust Claims, if the accident occurred prior to April 10, 2018, and the completed Claim Form is received on or before to August 31, 2018, the claim will be considered a “Current Claim” for purposes of early claims processing only. Claims for accidents occurring on or after April 10, 2018 or filed after August 31, 2018 will be considered “Future Claims” for purposes of claims processing only. The IRF and TATCTF intend to pay Current Claims and Future Claims similarly, employing the same evaluation criteria. In light of the uncertainties regarding the number and value of Current and Future Claims, the availability of funds in the future and other factors, there is no guarantee that Current and Future Claims will receive the same compensation for similar injuries.

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34. What is a Loss of Consortium Claim?

A Loss of Consortium Claim is a claim that may be available in some jurisdictions to family members of a person who was injured or suffered wrongful death caused by a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect. Loss of Consortium Claims may compensate a family member for the deprivation of a family relationship, including affection, companionship, comfort, etc. Some states only recognize a spouse’s right to recover, while others extend the right to children, parents, and other types of people.

A Loss of Consortium Claim is available only in connection with a POEM Claim, as provided in the Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claim Forms.

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35. What is a Bystander Claim?

A Bystander Claim is a claim that may be available in some jurisdictions to individuals who witnessed a family member suffer serious injury or death caused by a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect. The family member may have a claim for emotional distress or trauma caused by witnessing the accident. State law differs as to who can bring a Bystander Claim.

A Bystander Claim is available only in connection with a POEM Claim, as provided in the Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claim Forms.

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ELIGIBILITY

36. What are the eligibility requirements for an IRF Claim?

An individual is eligible to file a claim for compensation from the IRF if the individual:

  • (1) has suffered personal injury or wrongful death caused by a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect;
  • (2) was at the time the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect occurred:
    • (a) in a vehicle located or registered in the United States, its territories, or its possessions; or
    • (b) a United States citizen or permanent resident (wherever the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect accident occurred); and
  • (3) has not already resolved his or her claim against Takata.

An IRF Claim is available only to individuals who were either the driver of, or a passenger in a vehicle with a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect. The Takata Individual Restitution Fund will not compensate non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents who suffered personal injury or wrongful death outside of the United States, its territories, or its possessions in a vehicle that was not registered in the United States at the time the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect occurred.

If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for an IRF Claim, you may still qualify for one of the other types of claims; please read the eligibility information for Trust Claims and POEM Claims.

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37. What are the eligibility requirements for a Trust Claim?

An individual is eligible to file a claim for compensation from the TATCTF if the individual has suffered personal injury or wrongful death caused by the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect, provided the Claimant has not already resolved his or her claim against Takata, and the Claimant:

  • (1) is a United States citizen or permanent resident of the United States or any of its territories or possessions, wherever the personal injury or wrongful death occurred;
  • (2) suffered personal injury or wrongful death in an accident occurring within the United States or any of its territories or possessions; or
  • (3) suffered personal injury or wrongful death in a vehicle registered in the United States or any of its territories or possessions.

If you are unable to meet any of the criteria set out in (1), (2), or (3) above, you still may be eligible to file a Trust Claim if you are able to establish that: (a) you could have asserted your claim in a complaint filed in any court in the United States or any of its territories or possessions against one or more of the US Takata Debtors (for purposes of this analysis, as if the Takata Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Cases had not been filed); and (b) such complaint, if filed, would have withstood challenge on a motion to dismiss (or other dispositive motion) upon the grounds of lack of jurisdiction (e.g., lack of subject matter jurisdiction) and/or on forum selection grounds (e.g., under the forum non conveniens doctrine).

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38. What are the eligibility requirements for a POEM Claim? (Honda or Acura Vehicles Only)

Honda/Acura is currently the only Participating OEM. Thus, at the present time, only individuals who suffered personal injury or wrongful death caused by the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect in a vehicle sold or distributed by Honda/Acura are eligible to file a POEM Claim. POEM claims are claims that:

  • (1) are brought by a citizen of the United States or permanent resident, wherever the personal injury or death occurred;
  • (2) arise from an accident that occurred in the United States or any of its territories or possessions, whether or not such claim is brought by a citizen or permanent resident of the United States; or
  • (3) involve a vehicle registered in the United States or any of its territories or possessions.

A POEM Claim may not be brought by an individual who has already resolved his or her claim against the POEM.

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39. If my vehicle is subject to a recall, but I haven’t been injured in an accident, am I eligible to file a claim?

No. Only individuals who suffered personal injury or wrongful death caused by a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect are eligible for compensation from the TATCTF and IRF.

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40. If my Takata airbag inflator did not deploy in an accident and I was injured, am I eligible to file a claim?

No. Injuries resulting from malfunctions of airbag system components other than a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect, such as a sensor that fails to trigger airbag deployment, are not eligible for compensation from the TATCTF or IRF.

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41. If I was injured by my airbag in a crash, do I qualify for relief from the IRF or TATCTF?

Not necessarily. Because airbags deploy very rapidly, a driver or passenger may be injured by a properly deploying airbag. These injuries can include, but are not limited to, abrasions, burns, bruises, head and neck injuries, eye injuries, hearing loss or even broken bones. The IRF and the TATCTF do not compensate for injuries suffered as the result of the normal deployment of an airbag.

To qualify for relief from the IRF and the TATCTF, you must prove that your injuries were caused by a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect, which is defined to include the rupture or the “aggressive deployment” of the Takata PSAN airbag inflator.

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42. If my Takata airbag inflator deployed in an accident and I was injured, but the vehicle was manufactured or sold by a company other than Honda/Acura, am I eligible to file a claim?

Yes, you may file an IRF Claim and/or a Trust Claim if you satisfy the eligibility criteria for each of those claim types. You may not file a POEM Claim with the TATCTF unless the auto manufacturer has become a POEM. The opportunity to file an IRF Claim or a Trust Claim does not affect your rights to assert a claim (including filing a lawsuit) against an auto manufacturer who is not a POEM. You should bear in mind that the statute of limitations (the deadline for bringing a lawsuit) against an auto manufacturer who is not a POEM is not tolled or otherwise affected by the claim process through the IRF or the TATCTF.

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43. If I already settled with Takata or Honda, am I eligible to file a claim?

If you have resolved your claim against Takata, then you cannot file an IRF Claim or a Trust Claim. If you have resolved your claim against Honda/Acura, then you cannot file a POEM Claim.

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44. If I received a payment from my car insurance or the other driver’s car insurance, am I eligible to file a claim?

Yes, you are still eligible to file a claim, even though you have received payment through insurance.

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45. If I have a lawsuit pending against a third party (for example, another driver), am I eligible to file a claim?

Yes, you are still eligible to file a claim even though you have pending lawsuit against a third party. However, you may not receive compensation from the IRF or TATCTF with respect to claims against a third party, with the exception of claims against the POEM.

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46. If I choose not to file a claim, am I still able to file a lawsuit against the POEM (Honda/Acura) or another car manufacturer?

With regard to Honda/Acura, no, you cannot file a lawsuit. Pursuant to an order by the Bankruptcy Court in the Takata Chapter 11 Bankruptcy case, filing a POEM Claim is the exclusive remedy for Takata Airbag Inflator Defect claims against Honda/Acura. However, if the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect occurred in a vehicle other than Honda or Acura, you are not precluded from filing a lawsuit against that vehicle manufacturer.

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47. I was in an accident in a car that was not a Honda/Acura vehicle and I am going to file a claim with the IRF and TATCTF; can I also file a lawsuit against the auto manufacturer after I resolve my claim with the Special Master/Trustee?

A claim filed with the IRF and the TATCTF does not preclude you from bringing a lawsuit against the manufacturer (other than Honda/Acura), but you should bear in mind that the statute of limitations (the deadline for bringing a litigation claim) is not tolled or otherwise affected by the claim process through the IRF or the TATCTF.

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48. Am I still eligible to file a claim even if I no longer have possession of my car?

Yes, you are still eligible to file a claim even if you are no longer in possession of your vehicle. However, as set forth in the Claim Forms, if you are no longer in possession of your vehicle or the airbag inflator that was involved in the accident, you must provide information about the current owner of the vehicle or the airbag inflator and their location, as well as information in your possession (including photographs and/or videos) concerning the vehicle and airbag inflator.

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49. After my accident, I had the airbags replaced and no longer have in my possession the airbag that was involved in my accident; am I still eligible to file a claim?

Yes, you are still eligible to file a claim even if you no longer have the airbags in your possession. However, as set forth in the Claim Forms, if you are no longer in possession of the airbag inflator that was involved in the accident, you must provide information about the current owner of the airbag inflator and its location, as well as information in your possession concerning the airbag inflator involved in the accident (including photographs and/or videos).

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50. If I wasn’t injured in the accident in which a Takata airbag inflator deployed but my car sustained damage, am I eligible to file a claim?

No. Individuals are eligible for compensation from the IRF and TATCTF only if they suffered personal injury or wrongful death due to a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect. Economic losses that are unrelated to personal injury or wrongful death are not covered.

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51. Passengers in my car were injured or suffered wrongful death, are they eligible to file a claim?

Yes, passengers in your vehicle who suffered personal injury or wrongful death caused by the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect are eligible for compensation from the IRF and TATCTF, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria for each claim type.

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52. If the accident was my fault, am I eligible to file a claim?

Yes, if a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect caused your injuries, you may file a claim, even if the accident was your fault.

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RUPTURE

53. What is a Takata airbag inflator “rupture”?

A “rupture” occurs during the deployment of an airbag incorporating a Takata PSAN inflator when it produces excessive internal pressure causing the metal inflator canister to fragment, break apart, or rupture as a result of the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect.

In order to establish a rupture of a Takata PSAN inflator, a Claimant must provide evidence of the following:

  1. Deployment of a Takata PSAN inflator
  2. Physical evidence of rupture of the inflator canister to be demonstrated either by vehicle-based evidence, or by occupant-based evidence

    Vehicle-based evidence requires one of the following:

    • Ruptured inflator canister or metal/mesh fragments; or
    • Photographs of ruptured inflator canister or metal/mesh fragments; or
    • Airbag cushion with evidence of cuts consistent with inflator rupture; or
    • Photographs of the airbag cushion with evidence of cuts consistent with inflator rupture.

    Occupant-based evidence requires one of the following:

    • Photographs of injuries consistent with inflator rupture; or
    • Medical records documenting removal of metal fragments embedded in occupant; or
    • Medical records identifying injuries consistent with inflator rupture.
  3. The rupture was a contributing cause of the injuries or wrongful death.

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AGGRESSIVE DEPLOYMENT

54. What is an “aggressive deployment"?

There have been claims made that, in some circumstances, excessive pressure inside the inflator resulting from the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect that does not lead to rupture may still result in an “aggressive airbag deployment” and injury. The IRF and the TATCTF compensate aggressive deployment claims, but because the scientific evidence available to date indicates that an aggressive airbag deployment without a rupture in the airbag is uncommon and it is difficult to determine if an aggressive airbag deployment has occured, the TATCTF, through the TDP, compensates such claims only if the Claimant can establish certain requirements (which requirements may also be important in showing entitlement to compensation for an aggressive airbag deployment under the IRF). The following questions provide more details on how you may qualify for relief for an aggressive deployment claim.

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55. How do I know if I qualify for relief for an Aggressive Deployment Claim?

To qualify for relief for an aggressive deployment claim, you must submit evidence of the following:

  1. A delayed deployment of a Takata PSAN dual-stage inflator;
  2. Over-pressurization of the inflator;
  3. Physical injuries caused by interaction with the airbag as it was deploying; and
  4. Enhanced injury: an extent of physical injury that is greater than the injury an occupant in this crash would have received from an interaction with an airbag if it had deployed normally.

In addition, if your vehicle and inflator are available, you must allow the Special Master/Trustee and/or the automobile manufacturer to inspect them. If the Special Master/Trustee determines that you failed to exercise reasonable care to preserve the vehicle and inflator evidence after you had notice that you had a claim, your claim will not qualify for compensation unless you are able to provide a reasonable explanation why this evidence is not available.

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56. How do I know if my Takata inflator is a dual-stage inflator?

Certain recalled Takata inflators were designed with two inflator compartments that allow the inflator to deploy in two stages in certain crashes while other recalled Takata inflators were designed with a single compartment. If your Takata inflator is a single-stage inflator, you do not qualify for compensation for an alleged aggressive deployment. If you do not know if your Takata inflator is a dual-stage inflator, you should contact the Claims Administrator via email at Questions@TakataAirbagInjuryTrust.com or call toll-free at (888) 215-9544.

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57. What is a delayed deployment of a Takata PSAN dual-stage inflator?

Certain recalled Takata inflators were designed with two inflator compartments that allow the inflator to deploy in two stages in some types of crashes. Some accidents result in an electronic command to fire both compartments at the same time (known as a simultaneous deployment). Some less severe events only require that one compartment fire immediately and the other is delayed (known as a delayed deployment). For an aggressive deployment claim to be eligible for compensation, you must present evidence that your airbag had a delayed deployment during your crash.

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58. How do I show that a delayed deployment occurred during my crash?

The determination that an airbag had a delayed deployment should be demonstrated by data downloaded from your vehicle’s SRS (“Supplemental Restraint System”) Electronic Control Unit, or equivalent electronic unit according to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications, including the readout and interpretation, if available. You may ask the Special Master/Trustee to obtain a download of this data for you. If SRS data is not available, you may present other evidence to demonstrate the delayed deployment criteria.

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59. How do I demonstrate that the inflator canister was over-pressurized?

In order to recover for an injury based on a claim of aggressive deployment, you must show that the inflator’s internal pressure was greater than the normal deployment pressures. This evidence typically comes in the form of unusual deformation of the metal inflator. If the inflator is available, it must be produced to the Special Master/Trustee for inspection and evaluation. If it is not available, you must explain why it is not available and must provide other representative evidence of over-pressurization. The Special Master/Trustee may evaluate other physical evidence to determine whether normal internal pressures were exceeded. Examples of the other types of evidence that you could present to the Special Master/Trustee as evidence of over-pressurization are identified in the TDP.

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60. If I am alleging an aggressive deployment claim and I do not have my automobile or inflator available, what must I do?

If you believe you have an aggressive deployment claim but no longer have your vehicle or inflator, you must submit a letter to the Special Master/Trustee explaining why the vehicle or inflator is not available. If you have any photographs of the airbag and inflator after the accident, you must submit them. If the Special Master/Trustee determines that you failed to exercise reasonable care to preserve the vehicle and inflator evidence after you had notice that you had a claim, your claim will not qualify for compensation unless you are able to provide a reasonable explanation why this evidence is not available. As noted above, you may submit other types of evidence in support of your claim.

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61. What is an “enhanced injury?"

An airbag normally fully inflates in the blink of an eye, approximately 35 milliseconds, which can cause injury even though the airbag inflated as designed and expected. For aggressive deployment injuries to be compensable, you must prove that the injuries were “enhanced;” in other words, they were greater than the injuries an occupant in your crash would have received from an interaction with an airbag if it had deployed normally.

The burden is on you as the Claimant to prove an enhanced injury. The Special Master/Trustee will evaluate all reliable evidence submitted by you, but will only compensate you if the evidence submitted establishes an enhanced injury, and only for the enhanced component of the injury.

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62. If I am alleging an aggressive deployment, does the automobile manufacturer have an opportunity to submit evidence to the Special Master/Trustee in response to my claim?

If your claim involves a Honda or Acura vehicle, yes. Honda has the right to inspect the vehicle and inflator for all aggressive deployment claims and may submit a report to the TATCTF regarding the compensability of the claim.

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VEHICLE, ACCIDENT AND INJURY INFORMATION

63. How do I know if my vehicle had a defective Takata PSAN airbag inflator at the time of the accident?

For a preliminary indication as to whether your vehicle’s airbag inflator potentially had a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect, you can check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at www.nhtsa.gov for recent recalls. You can enter information about your vehicle to see if it was subject to recall. Your vehicle does not have to be subject to recall for you to have a valid rupture or aggressive deployment claim. Whether your vehicle definitively had a Takata Airbag Inflator Defect will be determined by the Special Master/Trustee after reviewing all relevant information submitted in connection with your claim.

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64. Should I take photographs of my vehicle and airbag inflator?

Yes, you should take photographs of the vehicle and airbag inflator involved in the accident as soon as possible after the accident occurred. You should submit photographs with your Claim Form.

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65. Should I take photographs of any pieces or components ejected from the airbag inflator during deployment?

Yes, you should take photographs of any pieces or components ejected from the airbag inflator during deployment and submit them with your Claim Form.

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66. Should I take photographs of any injuries I sustained as a result of the accident?

Yes, you should submit photographs of your injuries immediately after the accident as well as current photographs. If you wish to submit video evidence demonstrating the effect of an injury, please contact the Claims Administrator at Questions@TakataAirbagInjuryTrust.com for additional instructions.

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67. Do I need to have a physical examination if I have sustained injuries as part of my claim?

Claims of personal injury must be supported by medical documents evidencing the injuries suffered. For POEM Claims that involve an Extraordinary Circumstances Review, an Independent Medical Examination (“IME”) may be required.

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68. What is an Independent Medical Examination (“IME”)?

An Independent Medical Examination (“IME”) is a medical examination conducted by a medical professional, selected by the Trustee, only in connection with Extraordinary Circumstances Reviews of POEM Claims. For POEM Claims that involve an Extraordinary Circumstances Review, a Claimant must consent to an IME, if one is required.

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69. Can my own doctor conduct a physical examination?

In many cases, yes. For POEM Claims, certain injury types require medical reports by specific types of medical professionals, as set forth in Exhibit B to the TDP. For POEM Claims that involve an Extraordinary Circumstances Review, a Claimant must consent to an IME by a doctor chosen by the Trustee.

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70. What information about my vehicle is necessary to include in my claim?

You should submit as much information about your vehicle and your airbag inflator as possible to support your claim. All Claimants must submit documentation indicating the Vehicle Identification Number (“VIN”) of the vehicle involved in the accident. Examples of other types of documents necessary to support your claim are listed in Attachment A to the Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claim Forms.

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71. Where can I find my Vehicle Identification Number (“VIN”)?

Your VIN number can usually be found on the interior dashboard of your car, usually on the driver’s side. Your VIN may also be found in the following documents:

  • Vehicle title
  • Registration card
  • Insurance documents
  • Owner’s manual
  • Body shop repair records
  • Police reports
  • Vehicle history report
  • Driver’s side dashboard tag
  • Vehicle sticker on driver’s side door or door jam

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72. Will my car and/or its airbag inflator need to be inspected and, if so, by whom?

For all claims, if available, the vehicle involved in the accident and/or the airbag inflator may need to be inspected by the Special Master/Trustee, in the case of a POEM Claim, by the POEM, or by an OEM in the case of a Trust Claim involving a non-POEM OEM with the consent of the owner of the vehicle.

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73. What is an Abbreviated Injury Scale (“AIS”) 5-rated injury?

The Abbreviated Injury Scale or “AIS” is an anatomy-based coding system created to classify and describe the severity of injuries. It represents an assessment of the severity of injury, including the threat to life associated with the injury. An injury classified as AIS 5 is designated as a “Critical” injury and may serve as one of the bases for requesting an Extraordinary Circumstances Review.

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74. Can my doctor and the Special Master/Trustee communicate about my injuries?

Yes, if the Claimant or the Legal Representative of the injured person/Decedent signs a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) Authorization Form. By signing that form, which is attached to each Claim Form and is available on the Special Master/Trustee’s websites, the Claimant or Legal Representative authorizes the use and disclosure of “Protected Health Information” in connection with the processing of a claim. Protected Health Information includes, but is not limited to, information regarding the injured person’s or Decedent’s medical care, treatment, physical or mental condition, and medical expenses.

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CLAIM DETERMINATION AND NOTIFICATION

75. How will I be notified of the Special Master/Trustee’s decision?

The Claims Administrator will send all Claimants, or their lawyer, notice by mail or email regarding the Special Master/Trustee’s claim determination.

If your claim is found to be compensable or partially compensable, an Eligibility Notice will be sent to you. The Eligibility Notice will include information about the amount of compensation that will be paid. For compensable IRF and Trust Claims, the Eligibility Notice will indicate the number of points awarded, along with an estimated value of each point with respect to the IRF and with respect to the TATCTF. For compensable POEM Claims, the Eligibility Notice will include the proposed dollar amount of the award that will be paid. The award information in the Eligibility Notice will be valid for 30 days. The Eligibility Notice will also advise that you have the right to appeal the decision and will explain the appeal process. All awards proposed by the Special Master/Trustee with respect to IRF Claims are subject to the approval of the District Court.

If your claim is not compensable, a Denial Notice will be issued. Denial Notices will be issued to Claimants whose claims are rejected either as ineligible or because the deficiencies in the claims were not timely cured. The Denial Notice will advise that you have the right to appeal the decision and will explain the appeal process.

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76. How will I receive payment?

If you are not represented by a lawyer, you will receive a check via U.S. Mail. If you are represented by a lawyer, your lawyer will receive payment via electronic wire transfer unless the lawyer provides different directions to the Special Master/Trustee.

The Special Master/Trustee will develop procedures for the payments to eligible Claimants. The Special Master/Trustee’s websites will be updated periodically to provide information regarding the distribution process, including any steps that Claimants may need to take and documents that Claimants will be required to sign to receive payment.

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77. Do I have to pay taxes on my award?

Neither the Special Master/Trustee nor the Claims Administrator is a tax advisor and cannot provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult an independent tax, legal, and/or accounting advisor for more information on how your award may impact your tax obligations.

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78. If I disagree with the Special Master/Trustee’s decision regarding my claim, what can I do?

If you are dissatisfied with the decision on your claim, you may appeal the decision by filing a Notice of Appeal with the Special Master/Trustee. For IRF and Trust Claims, a Notice of Appeal must be submitted to the Special Master/Trustee within 30 days of the date of the relevant determination notice. For POEM Claims, a Notice of Appeal must be submitted within 20 days of receipt of the Trustee’s determination on eligibility. The POEM may also appeal the Trustee’s determination. If a Notice of Appeal is not filed timely, the Special Master/Trustee’s proposed determination will become final, binding, and non-appealable, subject to the discretion of the Special Master/Trustee for good cause. The Special Master's awards on IRF Claims are also subject to the approval of the District Court. Additional information about appeals, including a Notice of Appeal form, will be posted on this website. Please continue to check for updates.

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79. Will I need to sign a release and, if so, will I be giving up the right to sue certain parties or individuals?

Yes, as a condition for payment from the IRF and TATCTF, eligible Claimants will need to sign a Release. Release forms will be sent to all eligible Claimants when they are notified of their award. Generally, by signing the Release, you will release or waive all claims against the IRF, TATCTF, Special Master/Trustee, FCR and certain other persons. However, the Release will not release claims against Takata or the OEMs, other than the POEM, if applicable.

With respect to POEM Claims, the Release will require eligible Claimants to release and waive all claims against the POEM with respect to the fatality or specific injury category(ies) for which compensation is being awarded.

The Release will also require all eligible Claimants to make certain representations with respect to liens, rights of reimbursement and similar claims against them, acknowledge that Claimants remain solely responsible for resolving all liens, rights of reimbursement and other similar claims and authorize the Special Master/Trustee or his lien resolution administrator to seek resolution of all liens and related requirements.

Additional information about Releases will be posted on this website, so please continue to check this website.

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80. If I have medical liens relating to my accident, how will that affect my compensation?

If you have outstanding medical liens relating to your accident, you will be solely responsible for resolving them. If you are unable to resolve all pending medical liens, the Special Master/Trustee will take over the process with the assistance of a Lien Resolution Administrator to identify, resolve and satisfy certain repayment obligations. In determining all award amounts, the Special Master/Trustee will take into account all outstanding medical liens, if any, owed by the Claimant by deducting the amount of any outstanding medical liens from the Claimant’s award amount.

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81. Are economic losses, such as lost earnings, compensable?

Neither the IRF nor the TATCTF covers harms other than personal injury or wrongful death, such as the costs of vehicle repair, loss of use of the vehicle, loss of value to the vehicle, or other types of economic losses that are unrelated to personal injury or wrongful death.

However, Extraordinary Circumstances Review may be requested based on “Special Damages,” which are economic damages related to personal injuries or death, including but not limited to, funeral costs, lost earning capacity, and past and future medical care supported by a qualified expert, which exceed $1.5 million in net present value.

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82. How are values assigned to my claims?

Once it is determined that your Claim is eligible for compensation, the valuation amount will be calculated according to the provisions in the IRF Methodology and TDP.

For IRF Claims and Trust Claims, the valuation process classifies compensable claims into injury categories (and a category for a fatality) and assigns points to them, as provided in Table 2 in the IRF Methodology and Exhibit A to the TDP. The Special Master/Trustee will value each type of injury clearly, fairly, objectively and consistently. A specific number of points has been assigned to each of the identified injury categories and, where appropriate, for mild, moderate, and severe subcategories within each category. In addition, there are certain injury types for which additional points may be added to a claim based on factors such as age and number of dependents. “Stacking” or combining injuries is not permitted for IRF and Trust Claims; Claimants will be compensated for their most severe injury. The points assigned to each IRF and Trust Claim will be converted into a monetary award based on the value of each point in the IRF and in the TATCTF. The dollar value of each point shall be determined and adjusted periodically in accordance with Section V of the IRF Methodology and Section 8 of the TDP.

For POEM Claims, the TDP establishes the Scheduled Claim Process, which incorporates a Valuation Schedule of potential Takata Airbag Inflator Defect-related injuries, each of which has specified medical requirements and values falling between a specific Base (or minimum) value and High (or maximum) value. To determine a value for injuries or death, the Trustee will apply the Valuation Schedule, the relevant Global Adjustment Criteria and Specific Injury Adjustment Criteria, as set forth in Exhibit B to the TDP. Compensation for multiple injury types will be combined or “stacked,” as described in Exhibit B to the TDP.

Extraordinary Circumstances Review is available for all claim types if the accident, injuries or death involved unique circumstances, unique types of injuries, extraordinary severity or numerosity of injuries, and/or other extraordinary circumstances that require a more comprehensive review and could warrant additional consideration and/or compensation beyond the point valuation (for IRF and Trust Claims) and Scheduled Claim Process (for POEM Claims).

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83. If my IRF, Trust and POEM Claims are all compensable, how will the amount of my award be determined?

The valuation of your award is a 3-step process. With respect to the IRF and Trust Claims, the total number of points to be awarded will be determined based on the information provided in your Claim Form and supporting documentation. For the IRF Claim, the total points awarded will be multiplied by the dollar value of each point, as determined pursuant to the IRF Methodology, to arrive at a dollar amount for your IRF Claim. For the Trust Claim, each point will have a value specific to the TATCTF, as determined pursuant to the TDP; accordingly, the total points awarded will be multiplied by the dollar value of each point in the TATCTF, to arrive at a dollar amount for your Trust Claim. Finally, your POEM Claim will receive a valuation in dollars pursuant to the provisions of the TDP; the dollar amount to be paid by the POEM will be reduced by the sum of the dollar amounts awarded for your IRF Claim and your Trust Claim. Your total award will be the dollar valuation of the POEM Claim, with payments from the IRF, TATCTF and POEM determined as described in this paragraph, in the IRF Methodology and TDP.

For example, if the compensable injuries in your IRF and Trust Claims are determined to total 1,000 points and the full valuation of your POEM Claim is determined to be $300,000, your award will be calculated as follows (solely for purposes of illustration): If each point in the IRF is valued at $10, your IRF Claim will be valued at $10,000 (1,000 points x $10). If each point in the TATCTF is valued at $20, your Trust Claim will be valued at $20,000 (1,000 points x $20). Your total award will be $300,000, with the POEM contributing $270,000 ($300,000 less the amounts from the IRF and TATCTF).

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84. What is the Valuation Schedule?

The Valuation Schedule is the schedule used to calculate the value of POEM Claims. It identifies certain injuries potentially associated with the Takata Airbag Inflator Defect, organizes them into injury types, and assigns each injury type a Scheduled Value with both Base and High values. For certain injury types, the Valuation Schedule provides specific injury criteria, as set forth in Exhibit B to the TDP.

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85. What is the Scheduled Claim Process?

The Scheduled Claim Process is a methodology utilized by the Trustee for the valuation of compensable personal injury and wrongful death POEM Claims. Under the Scheduled Claim Process, the Trustee will apply the Valuation Schedule, the relevant Global Adjustment Criteria and Specific Injury Adjustment Criteria, as set forth in Exhibit B of the TDP.

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86. What are Global Adjustment Criteria?

The Global Adjustment Criteria are valuation adjustments that could increase the value of a POEM Claim, if applicable, pursuant to the Scheduled Claim Process. The Global Adjustment Criteria are listed in Exhibit B to the TDP and include, among other things, life expectancy, age, existence and age of dependents, severity and/or permanency of injury, pain and suffering.

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87. What is Stacking?

Stacking involves adding together compensation values for multiple injury types. Stacking is available only for POEM Claims and only under certain circumstances. The TDP categorizes various types of injuries into four “Groups” plus an “Ungrouped Injury Type,” as set forth in Exhibit B to the TDP. If a Claimant with a POEM claim has compensable injuries that fall into more than one Group and/or the Ungrouped Injury Type, one injury from each Group and/or the Ungrouped Injury Type will be “stacked” and the compensation for each injury will be added together to determine the total compensation amount for the Claimant. The Trustee may stack no more than three different Groups and/or Ungrouped Injury Types (using the highest three) when calculating the total compensation amount. Stacking of injuries within a specific Group is not permitted, except with respect to the Ungrouped Injury Types; stacking of injuries within the Ungrouped Injury Types is permitted. Wrongful Death Claims are not stackable (they are compensated solely as a fatality).

By way of example, if a person suffered Minor Bruising (Group 1), Loss of Vision in Two Eyes (Group 1), and Limb Paralysis (Group 3), compensation for Loss of Vision in Two Eyes (the higher compensated injury in Group 1) and Limb Paralysis will be stacked and added together for a POEM Claim. If a person suffered a non-permanent eye injury (Ungrouped Injury Type) and a broken arm (Ungrouped Injury Type), compensation for both injuries may be stacked because they are both within the Ungrouped Injury Type.

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88. How can I obtain information regarding my claim?

Please contact the Claims Administrator by emailing us at Questions@TakataAirbagInjuryTrust.com or call us toll-free at (888) 215-9544.

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