A faulty door latch on a vehicle can be disastrous in the event of a car crash, leading to catastrophic and life-changing injuries. When the worst happens, trust a skilled door latch injury lawyer to secure justice for you.
Car door mechanisms are an afterthought for most people. They should keep the vehicle safe and secure while allowing easy access and escape. When that mechanism malfunctions, it can put drivers and passengers in extreme danger.
Contact the expert door latch accident attorneys of Bisnar Chase now for a free consultation if you or a loved one have been injured by a dangerous auto defect. Our skilled team will hold negligent car makers accountable and make sure you are properly compensated.
Door Latch Accident Resources
What is a Defective Door Latch?
A vehicle door latch is a mechanism that keeps a car door fastened shut when you close it.
While this seems like a low-key element of a vehicle, a component that most people do not consider, a dodgy door latch can put people at extreme risk when it fails to work properly.
Most car door latches work the same way. They have an anchor fitted at the door’s frame (usually a u-shaped metal piece), and a latch mechanism on the door itself. As you close the door, the latch mechanism closes around the anchor, locking the door. Pulling the car door handle releases the latch and allows the door to open.
This system is used successfully in millions of cars. And when everything is working correctly, you will not think twice about it. But in some cases, the car door latch will malfunction.
A defective car door latch can lead to one of two scenarios:
- The door pops open when it should not do so.
- The door is stuck shut and cannot be opened.
Either scenario can be hazardous. If a car door flies open while the car is in motion, it could cause a serious accident by distracting drivers or whipping into another vehicle.
Another dangerous situation could see a latch malfunction that throws the door open on impact during an accident. This could either allow the occupants to be thrown from the vehicle or leave them exposed and vulnerable to further trauma.
A defective door latch that sticks closed can be just as dangerous. It may prevent vehicle occupants from escaping the wreckage after an accident. This can be particularly deadly if the car is already on fire, leaks flammable fluids, or has been forced into a body of water.
Often overlooked, faulty door latches in cars are serious auto defects that put people in genuine danger. If you have suffered injuries or losses due to this kind of malfunction, contact the car door latch defect lawyers of Bisnar Chase now for a free consultation.
Types of Door Latch Defects
There are several different types of door latch failures that can lead to accidents and severe injuries. These include:
- Latch Failure: The latch is the specific part that clamps over the anchor to secure the door in place. When this part malfunctions, it will mean the door either will not stay closed securely, or it will not disengage and allow the door to open.
- Misaligned or broken anchor: The anchor is the secure part that allows the latch to lock down. If the anchor is broken or knocked out of position, it can cause the door latch function to fail.
- Broken rods, actuator, or internals: Behind a car door panel is a complicated-looking setup that runs the door latch system. A long rod and actuator link the door handle to the latch. If any of these internal components do not work properly, the door latch will follow suit.
- Broken handle: While there are many elements to the door latch system, the only part visible to, and operated by, the vehicle user is the door handle. If there is a problem with the handle itself, the rest of the latch setup may not work.
- Door integrity: A car door is designed to protect the electronics and inner workings hidden within, such as the door latch mechanism. If the structure of the door is compromised, it could lead to the components within being damaged.
Sometimes, these defects will show up with little warning at the worst possible time. In other cases, there will be warning signs. Seek mechanical help if:
- You need to slam your door hard for it to stay closed
A latch should work without requiring a lot of brute force. If it does not, this could be a sign that there is an internal fault. Slamming the door repeatedly is likely to cause complete latch failure.
- The door is sticking shut sometimes
In some cases, a door might start by working inconsistently, sometimes failing to open when you pull the handle. This may indicate that the linking or latching mechanisms within the door are damaged or starting to fail.
Causes of Car Door Latch Failure
There are plenty of potential causes for a car door latch mechanism failing. They include, but are not limited to:
- Improper installation: When a latch, anchor, or associated components are not installed properly at the point of vehicle assembly, the system may not work or may soon fail.
- Poorly designed mechanism: While the car door latch mechanism is well established, different automakers will create different designs, and often update their components. If a sub-par design is implemented, the part will not work properly.
- Manufacturing faults: Car parts are intricate and specialized. In some cases, even a minor error in the manufacturing process, from programming the machines incorrectly to cutting corners with cheap materials, can lead to a sub-par mechanism that breaks down quickly.
- Mechanical breakdown: A mechanical issue could compromise analog components or electrical systems, hampering the system housed within the car door.
- Lack of quality control: Many potential issues involve human error at some point in the distribution chain, from the design to the manufacturing process. Robust quality control checks often catch such errors, but car manufacturers sometimes fail to do their due diligence.
- Insufficient consumer direction: A car door latch is relatively simple to operate, but carmakers still have a duty to make sure buyers are given all information required to operate their vehicle safely and securely.
Each of the causes listed above could create the potential for disaster. If a door latch breaks at the wrong time, it could lead to a serious accident. Vehicle drivers and passengers may be left with life-altering injuries when this happens.
If you have suffered due to a faulty door latch, contact the auto defect attorneys of Bisnar Chase now for a free consultation and superior representation.
Door Latch Accident Liability
When an accident involving a defective car door latch mechanism occurs, you need to know who is to blame and who you can take legal action against.
These are not always easy questions to answer, but they are important. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the following parties might share some portion of the blame:
- Vehicle manufacturer
- Designers (if outsourced)
- Safety testing experts
- Aftermarket mechanic
- Third-party sellers
Much of the blame in a car accident involving an auto defect will be attributed to the car manufacturer. In most cases, the manufacturer will handle all vehicle creation and distribution elements, from design and manufacture to sales.
In turn, this means that any negligence shown during these processes will lead to legal action being taken against the manufacturer.
For example, if a car maker such as Honda or Toyota were found to have designed and used a faulty latch, used sub-par materials that broke quickly, or made mistakes during the installation phase of building the car, they would be held liable for any resulting accidents.
In some cases, elements of a car build may be outsourced to other companies. For example, an engineering firm could be subcontracted by an automaker to provide components such as the door latch, or a safety testing company may be used for vehicle assessments.
Any party involved in the distribution chain for a vehicle, from its design conception to its sale, could be held liable and included in a door latch injury lawsuit if they have been negligent in their duty to provide a safe and secure vehicle to consumers.
Door Latch Injuries
The types of injuries a person can suffer due to a broken door latch on a car can range from relatively minor to severe and even fatal. Our attorneys will step in to help when injuries have been suffered as a result of automaker negligence.
Door latch injuries can include any damage that the broken mechanism may influence.
For example, this might include injuries suffered while being ejected from a vehicle during a crash after the door opened unexpectedly or while being trapped inside a car wreck by a malfunctioning door. Common injuries include:
- Severe abrasions and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Fume inhalation
We cannot overstate this. A defective car door latch can put lives at risk in the event of an accident. It should never happen, but there are plenty of examples.
The entire Bisnar Chase team is passionate about holding wrongdoers accountable, even when that means taking on a motoring giant.
Our team has decades of experience when it comes to taking on and beating major carmakers. Contact Bisnar Chase now for outstanding representation from our highly skilled team.
Car Door Latch Statistics and Safety Requirements
Cars can be weapons in the wrong hands. Millions of vehicles moving at high speeds across roads throughout the U.S. need to be built to strict safety specifications to avoid daily disasters.
Every car element is safety-rated, and door latches are no exception.
Federal laws state that car door latches must be able to withstand certain pressure rates. These include:
- 11,000 N when the door is closed and fully latched
- An inertial load of 30 Gs
Click here for a full rundown of car door latch safety regulations.
When it comes to road accidents, a crash’s initial trauma can be devastating. But a latch malfunction can make the consequences far worse.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 8,000 people are ejected from their vehicles due to door faults in the U.S. every year.
- About 83% of people thrown from a vehicle during an accident suffer fatal injuries.
- Firefighters are called to more than 170,000 highway vehicle fires annually, resulting in an average of 345 deaths and 1,300 injuries for people trapped inside.
- One of the earlier car door latch innovations in the 1960s reduced rollover ejection deaths by 400 per year.
Car door latch defects are not common. But when they compromise a car door mechanism, the results can be deadly.
Car Door Latch Injury Lawsuits
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident involving a door latch defect, you should consider taking legal action.
Under California product liability laws, you have a right to hold wrongdoers accountable for negligent actions that have resulted in injuries, damages, and losses.
Your first action after an accident should be to contact the door latch injury lawyers of Bisnar Chase for expert help and guidance. Our firm has earned a national reputation in auto defect claims, and we take great pride in holding careless manufacturers accountable while securing justice for our clients.
Our team will work with you to build a strong case and ensure that you receive the maximum possible compensation.
In auto defect cases, if possible, it is imperative to preserve the vehicle after an accident. At Bisnar Chase, we work with industry specialists to examine faulty components to help build your case.
Our team has more than 44 years of experience in handling personal injury claims. We have the skill and resources to take on even the toughest cases, whether securing a fair settlement for our clients or fighting for them in court.
We handle every aspect of your case, allowing you to focus entirely on recovery.
Contact Bisnar Chase for a free case review now. Our intake team will provide the guidance you need, walking you through every aspect of the legal process.
How Much is Your Door Latch Defect Injury Case Worth?
A successful door latch injury lawsuit can have multiple benefits. On the one hand, it can highlight dangerous car design or manufacturing practices, holding the car makers accountable and improving safety standards for other drivers.
On the other hand, it can ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries, damages, and losses.
Most people want to know how much their case will be worth. But the truth is that it is impossible to give you a definitive answer without knowing all the facts.
Every claim is different, and compensatory amounts depend on a range of factors. These can include:
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Loss of earning potential
- Ongoing rehab and care costs
- Disability and equipment costs
- Property damage or replacement costs
- Emotional distress
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Wrongful death, funeral costs, or loss of consortium
These are just some of the factors that can influence a compensatory award. You may also receive punitive damages. Punitive damages can be assessed at the court’s discretion as a punishment, usually in cases involving intentional acts or extreme recklessness and negligence.
No one can guarantee you a case victory. But at Bisnar Chase, we believe in our abilities to secure the maximum possible compensation in your case.
Door Latch Injury FAQs
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions that we are asked about auto defect and door latch injury lawsuits.
If you have questions that are not answered in this article, please do not hesitate to contact us for help.
Our team will work with you to line up evidence including witness statements, medical reports and bills, police reports, and more. It is always helpful to have the vehicle itself, though we appreciate that this can sometimes be compromised by the nature of the accident. Don’t worry; contact Bisnar Chase to get the ball rolling and find out what we need for your case.
The answer to this question is a resounding yes. If you have been injured due to manufacturer negligence, it is absolutely worth taking action against the responsible parties. A successful lawsuit will ensure you are compensated financially, but it will also make the company answer for their negligence and hopefully inspire better future actions.
The statute of limitations for a civil lawsuit involving personal injury is generally two years. This means that you have two years from the date of the incident or injury to file a lawsuit. We know that the aftermath of an accident can be difficult and stressful, but it is always better to seek legal advice sooner rather than later.
At Bisnar Chase, we work on contingency. We protect you from out-of-pocket expenses by advancing the costs required to win your case. We only get paid if we win for you. If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not owe anything. This tried and tested system ensures that top-quality legal help is available to everyone.
If you have further questions, contact our door latch injury attorneys now.
Door Latch Defect Verdicts, Settlements, and Recalls
In recent years, some high-profile cases involving defective car door latches have rocked carmakers. Some of these cases involve multi-million dollar settlements, while others force vehicle manufacturers to issue recalls that would prevent accidents.
- Ford Door Latch Defect Class Action – 2020
At the end of 2020, Ford agreed to a sizeable $5.3 million settlement for the owners of trucks with a door latch defect. Owners of Ford F-Series trucks from 2015-2019 complained about a fault that prevented doors from latching and locking properly in cold temperatures.
The lead plaintiff tried to get his truck repaired several times, but none of the Ford fixes prevented the problem, and a class action suit was filed. Ford denied the problem but eventually settled out of court for $5.3 million, earmarking hundreds of dollars each for truck owners, even if the issue had not caused an accident.
- Thousands of Range Rovers recalled – 2019
Top utility vehicle manufacturer Land Rover was forced to recall more than 65,000 Range Rover SUVs in 2019 due to a door latch danger. The carmaker issued the recall after discovering a keyless latch issue that could cause the doors to fly open without warning.
The recall included Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models from 2014-2016. It was discovered that the doors appeared to be closed but were not properly secured, putting drivers and passengers in crash danger. This is just one example of a latch recall made before serious accidents were reported.
- Ford Door Latch Recall Costs $640 million – 2016
Another one for Ford. In 2016 the manufacturing giant was forced to recall more than 2.4 million cars, vans, and trucks, because of a latched fault that allowed doors to pop open while the vehicles were in motion.
Ford had received many complaints and issued a nationwide recall after being pressured by NHTSA to act. It included Focus, Escape, C-Max, Transit, and Mustang models from 2012-2016, as well as some Lincoln sedans. It cost Ford an estimated $640 million to fix the problem for consumers.
In addition to the examples above, the NHTSA website has complaints against BMW, Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, and Ram for door latch defects over the last five years alone.
Even major companies can make mistakes and are not immune from producing defective components and cars.
Find the Best Car Door Latch Injury Attorney Near Me
If you have been injured in an incident involving a defective car door latch, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to ensure you are made whole.
These accidents are extremely dangerous, and we believe in supporting injury victims while holding auto giants accountable for their mistakes.
The Bisnar Chase team is passionate and dedicated; our numbers speak for themselves. We have an outstanding 99% success rate and have secured more than $750 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients.
Our attorneys are highly skilled in a number of areas and are extremely successful when it comes to auto defect injury cases. We believe in providing superior representation with a personal touch.
Whether you need a law firm to fight for you at the negotiating table or take your claim to a jury verdict, we have the skill, experience, and resources to win for you.
Contact the car door latch injury lawyers of Bisnar Chase now to find out if you have a case. Call (800) 561-4887, use the live chat feature on our website, or click here to email your inquiry to us.