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The global recall of Takata Corp.’s defective air bags widened last week and the number of confirmed deaths rose, but legal experts said the bigger worry for car companies caught in the fallout is playing out in a Delaware bankruptcy courtroom.

Earlier this month, people who have suffered injuries from air bags, which degrade over time and can inflate with excessive force, were appointed to their own official committee in the Japanese company’s U.S. bankruptcy, giving them a powerful voice in the proceedings.

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