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Door Latch Defects

In the fall of 2017, it was revealed that Ford Motor Company waited two years before issuing a recall of millions of Ford pickup trucks with defective and dangerous door latches. Some questioned if the delay was motivated by the $267,000,000.00 it would cost Ford Motor Company to fix this defect.

Aop vehicle defects

If you or a loved one has been harmed in an accident involving a door latch failure, then please feel free to contact our offices for a free consultation.

Ford acknowledged in its recall that:

In affected vehicles, a frozen door latch or a bent or kinked actuation cable may result in a door that will not open or will not close condition. Should a customer be able to open and close the door with these conditions, the door may appear closed, but the latch may not fully engage the door striker with the potential that the door could open while driving, increasing the risk of injury.

The Ford pickup defective door latch recall is one example of vehicles being driven on the road today that have defective doors for either driver or passengers which may cause serious harm or even death. There have been other, earlier door latch recalls involving huge numbers of vehicles including Ford Escapes, Five Hundreds, Ford Fiestas, Mercury Montegos, and Ford Transit Vans.

Of course, there may be serious injuries caused by a defective door latch that has not been the subject of recall.

Defective Door Latch Systems

During a crash, the door performs a vital safety function. It shields the occupants from being ejected from the vehicle during impact. It keeps occupants from falling from the wreckage, suffering additional harm, after the crash.

A properly designed latching system keeps doors closed. The latching system includes an outside handle, an inside handle, outside linkage, inside linkage, a latch, a striker, springs, and locks.

Defects in the door latching system include:

  • Handles that break
  • Handles that open or actuate in a crash
  • Linkage that bends and opens the latch
  • Latches that break or open in a crash
  • Lack of a secondary latching system (safety latch).

With a defective door latch, serious injuries can be sustained during a crash or even when the vehicle jerks into a turn, or the driver slams on the brakes.

If the door latch fails, the occupant can be ejected from the moving vehicle and the force of the ejection alone can cause serious bodily injury in a situation that would have otherwise resulted in minor harm or the occupant escaping without any injury whatsoever.

    Experienced Door Latch Failure Attorneys

    Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP has extensive experience fighting for justice after victims have suffered serious injuries due to defective car parts, including door latches.

    For more details, see our case results discussion involving defective products and vehicle collisions in our Case Summaries and our Verdicts and Settlements.

    Wigington: Recognized National Authority on Door Latch Defects

    Jeff Wigington has been recognized as a national authority on these door latch accidents and the pursuit of justice under state product liability laws on behalf of their victims. He was interviewed by the New York Times regarding door latch failure in a defective Ford pickup truck case, where he explained the defect was obvious from the start:

    “The initial indication is that it’s a bad spring….There’s nothing else to explain why doors are opening.”

    Go to In The News for more media coverage.

    Jeff Wigington also shared his perspective on these door latch defects cases with fellow litigators in an article published in the national publication for the Association for Trial Lawyers (ATLA), written specifically to assist other attorneys across the country representing door latch victims and their families. Read: Wigington, Jeffrey G., and K. R. Dean. "Ford's dangerous door-latch defects." TRIAL 40 (2004): 32-35.

    For more information regarding Door Latch Defects, please review our settlement history and read summaries of some of our past cases.