En Español

Motor Vehicle Defects Due to Defective Door Design In 1992 Dodge Ram Models

Most motor vehicle defect attorneys will agree that the 1992 Dodge Ram is a dangerous and defective car. In 1993, Charles Clark was driving his 1992 Dodge Ram pickup truck with his two nephews when a State Police cruiser near Route 25 in Kentucky hit him. The car collision to Clark's driver side front fender caused the cars to rotate and "side slap" after impact. Clark, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the truck, thrown onto the grass median and died six hours later from his personal injuries. Neither the police officer nor Clark's two passengers were seriously injured.

Clark's wife filed a products liability suit against Chrysler. Her motor vehicle defect attorneys alleged that Chrysler's lock latch on the Ram's doors was defectively designed, since it failed to hold the truck's door shut during the car accident.

Plaintiff's expert witnesses testified that the 1992 Dodge Ram did not have a state-of-the-art or state-of-the-industry lock latch. He referred to several other lock latch examples that were state-of-the-art at the time Clark's pickup truck was manufactured. His opinion that the lock latch was defective and unreasonably dangerous was based on his technical knowledge of automobile door latch systems, his extensive testing of door latch bypass failure, his familiarity with the Chrysler K latch and his examination of the latch in Clark's truck, as well as other K latches identical to the one involved in Clark's case.

Later, Clark's car accident reconstruction expert testified that the structure to which the truck's door attached when it closed, called a B-pillar, is the skeleton of the car and typically would be reinforced. He added that the Dodge Ram lock latch was 40 years out of date and that the B-pillar was defectively designed because it was a single piece of sheet metal that had not been shaped and welded into a square box to provide structure, as was typical in the industry.

B-pillar twist-out was a known failure in the automobile industry. General Motors submitted a twist-out test procedure to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for informational purposes. The procedure was also made available to other car manufacturers, including Chrysler. Despite being aware that General Motors was testing its B-pillars for twist-out, Chrysler did not choose to test its latches for twist-out failure. Other cars at the time the Dodge Ram was manufactured, including a Toyota pickup, a 1991 Nissan, and a 1989 Ford, had "boxed" B-pillars that were reinforced in the area of the striker. Regrettably, Chrysler's design did not utilize the box-within-a-box design found in the other cars--a design that could have prevented the twist-out and kept the Ram's doors shut in this car accident.

The jury found that Chrysler and Clark were each 50 percent at fault--Chrysler for its defective Dodge Ram car latch design and Clark for failing to "buckle up." Consequently, the jury's $471,258 compensatory award was cut in half in the judgment for Clark, while its $3 million in punitive damages stood. In its appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court, Chrysler lost its bid to overturn the jury verdict.

"This is another example of an automaker failing to correct known safety issues when a simple, inexpensive solution is readily available," observed Brian Chase of the nationally recognized motor vehicle defects law firm of Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys. "Mrs. Clark's action of taking Chrysler to court is an example of our justice system at work. The jury's award is America's message to Chrysler that their failure to act was not acceptable. Hopefully, this lawsuit will help convince Chrysler to make safety a higher priority in the design of their cars. With the people of America bailing out Chrysler to the tune of billions of dollars, Chrysler has a moral duty to build more crashworthy cars for Americans."

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as the result of a defective auto part or vehicle, contact the experienced California auto products liability attorneys at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation. We will use our extensive knowledge and resources to achieve the best possible results for you and your family.

Have a question that wasn't answered here?

(800) 561-4887

Was This Page Helpful? Yes | No

Client Reviews of Bisnar Chase

“These people were so unbelievably nice. When you go to a personal injury law firm, you dont expect to like the people that are representing you. They did a great job with my case and kept me informed throughout the whole process. Definite 5 stars.”

by Amanda P.

reviewed at Yelp

“BISNAR | CHASE did a great job in representing me. Jerusalem Beligan and the entire staff impressed me every step of the way. From the moment I walked through the door I knew I was going to be taken care of, and I was.”

by Gloria C.

reviewed at Yelp

“Recently, I had to find a personal injury attorney on a case that had special circumstances. I had a car accident that is almost due to expire and unfortunately, in the beginning, I decided no [sic] to get an attorney. And oh boy am I regretting it. I didn't have a lot of respect for lawyers before this. And because of that, I made the decision not to represent myself two years ago. Altho [sic] they were not able to help me, Mr. Bisnar was so helpful that he directed me in a manner that I didn't need an attorney at all. He was funny and charming. It was my fault for not going the standard route, but next time, I will definitely not hesitate to contact these attorneys for any of my legal needs. I was VERY impressed. I don't use those words lightly (especially about attorneys!) so this is no bull! neither was Mr. Bisnar of Bisnar and Chase.”

by Morgana R

reviewed at Yelp

See All Ratings And Awards

The BISNAR CHASE Difference

  • “I was in a serious auto accident when I was in law school. I had to hire a personal injury attorney and had a really bad experience.”

    John Bisnar

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “If you hire Bisnar | Chase and we don't recover money for you in your case, you owe us absolutely nothing.”

    Brian Chase

    on whether or not you would owe money if your case was lost

  • “Whatever the philosphy of the management is, is going to be carried through by the employees and it’s going to reflect on the experience the clients have.”

    John Bisnar

    on his philosophy on running a law firm

  • “The insurance companies are going to be investigating that accident the day it happens. You need to have a lawyer on your side the day it happens as well.”

    Brian Chase

    on when you should contact an attorney

  • “The first thing we want to do with our clients is to relieve the stress. Make them feel comfortable. Treat them as an honored guest.”

    John Bisnar

    on how he would define superior client representation

  • “It's hard to answer that question right up front without a thorough analysis. What I can guarantee you is, with the resources of Bisnar | Chase we will maximize the value of your case.”

    Brian Chase

    on what your case is worth

Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys
1301 Dove St #120
Newport Beach, CA 92660

local: (949) 203-3814
Get Directions

California Personal Injury Blog