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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s been two weeks since Sara Baker’s nightmare began, after she was involved in a crash in her 2002 Honda Accord after picking up her son from the sitter.
The 34-year-old says when her airbag deployed, the flying shrapnel cut off more than half of her left ear.
“All I remember is being rushed to the hospital because my ear was falling off,” said said. “It was hanging by a limb.”
Baker still has problems using her injured ear.
“I’m hoping my ear comes back normal. I can hear muffled.”
Baker becomes the latest litigant in South Florida to file a lawsuit against Takata.
The Japanese company has come under fire- linked to five deaths and dozens of injuries– from malfunctioning airbags.
Ten automakers have recalled about 12 million vehicles in the U.S. while Takata tries to figure out the exact cause of the problem.
According to court documents, so far there are nearly 90 lawsuits throughout the US against Takata that include wrongful death, injury and class action lawsuits.
A federal judicial panel ruled the federal courthouse in Downtown Miami will now hear those cases along with any other lawsuits that are expected to be filed against the Japanese company.
It’s a huge development for Miami to be ground zero essentially for the airbag litigation,” said attorney Jason Turchin. “These are cases that are going to involve and effect nearly every person who drives an affected vehicle and there are millions of vehicles that are out on the road that are going to be part of this action.”
Turchin is handling more than 10 injury cases against Takata in South Florida.
He says he hears about new cases on a weekly basis.
“This is a very serious issue and people don’t know if their airbag is one of the affected airbags unfortunately until after a crash,” he said.
Sara has not been able to work since her injury and is still in pain but
She realizes how lucky she is to not only be here, but that the shrapnel didn’t do more damage.
“It didn’t hit the nerve that it could have hit because if it did, I could have been left with no motion on the left side of my face,” she explained.