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Door Latch Failures

investigating preventable auto defect injury cases

One of the most dangerous types of vehicle accidents occurs when a collision causes a faulty door latch to open, and motorists are thrown from the vehicle, leading to severe crush injuries. Car safety standards have been strengthened in recent years to protect consumers from such incidents, yet defective door latch accidents continue to happen in Ohio and throughout the nation.

Auto defects account for thousands of preventable injuries each year, and injured motorists and passengers can file personal injury claims against car makers responsible for producing and selling defective cars to consumers. Settlements in door latch defect lawsuits can compensate victims for medical expenses, pain and suffering, long-term disability and for other damages.

For decades, the safety of car, SUV and van occupants has been compromised by door latch defects. As early as 1996, General Motors was targeted by car accident victims and product liability lawyers who claimed defective door latch issues were directly causing severe injuries.

Recently, Ford Motor has been in the center of the door latch defect debate, and attorneys allege that a failure to properly design and manufacture safe door latches has endangered consumers.

Ford was forced to recall the most popular vehicle in the U.S., the Ford F-150, years 2015 through 2017 to fix a defect that could cause doors to open while driving. The recall covers about 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S.

Following a serious auto accident, victims should contact an experienced lawyer to investigate. Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati Catastrophic Lawyer and experienced Ohio Product Liability Attorney reviewing Auto Defect Cases and defective door latch recalls.

Door Latch Defects & Recent Auto Recalls

The recent Ford recall involving door latches has actually been a continuing safety issue for years. Ford has now recalled almost 4 million vehicles in total due to faulty door latches. The latest warning from Ford states that door latches can freeze, actuation cables could become bent, ultimately preventing a door from closing or opening.

“The latch may not fully engage the door striker with the potential that the door could open while driving, increasing the risk of injury,” Ford said in a recall statement.

In addition to the F-150 recalls, Ford Motor Company recalled their Ford Focus, Ford Escape and Ford C-MAX, Lincoln MKC and Ford Mustang because a component within the door latch may break, preventing the doors from closing.

General Motors considered a recall in the 1990s that caused countless injuries and deaths, but chose not to recall defective door latches until victims and product liability attorneys held the automaker liable.

36,000 model-year 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander and Outlander Sport SUVs were recalled because door latch mechanisms may not latch securely in high temperatures, allowing the doors to open while the vehicle is in motion, increasing the risk of an injury. Mitsubishi was found guilty of concealing evidence about its knowledge of door latch failures in its vehicles.

Door latch failures may occur because:

  • Defective Door Latch Design
  • Mechanical problems prohibit proper door latch operation
  • Incorrect installation of door latches
  • Failing remote rod: a remote road is the device that connects the latch and handle of the car door. Remote rods can fail during an auto impact, and a door may open.

Door Latch Failure Lawsuits

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) a road fatality is 23-times more likely if a passenger or driver is thrown out of a vehicle during or after a collision.

With faulty door latches, injury is more likely to be fatal if occupants are ejected during an accident. Ohio product liability lawyers are working to hold automakers responsible for manufacturing safe car doors and car door latches. The auto components that are installed on a vehicle should be able to safely withstand certain amounts of force and impact to protect passengers.

Design defects and negligent manufacturing of a car door latch can lead to passengers getting either thrown from a vehicle or trapped in a burning vehicle following a crash.

When automakers fail to sell safe and reliable vehicles, and ignore federal safety standards, they may be liable for damages and injuries sustained in a car crash. Victims of auto defects can recover costs related to medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The Lyon Firm has experience filing injury and defect claims against large auto companies who fail to protect consumers. To build the strongest case possible, preserve all evidence related to door latch defects and injuries sustained, including witness testimony and photos of any accident scene.


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Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.

The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.


The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.

photo of attorney Joe Lyon
A Voice for Those who have suffered

Why are these cases important?

Serious injuries and accidents often result through no fault of the injured party, yet the injured victim suffers from life altering physical, mental and financial losses. Such economic and human losses can have devastating financial consequences on individuals and families if not properly compensated. Tort law allows those individuals to seek just legal recourse through personal injury lawsuits.


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Questions about Door Latch Failure Lawsuits

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Any kind of negligence by an individual or company that causes injury or harm can lead to filing a personal injury lawsuit. The amount a plaintiff is entitled to depends on several factors, particularly how egregious the act and how serious the injury.

Personal injury attorneys generally only will take cases on a confidential and contingency fee basis, which means your lawyer will only get paid if he or she is able to reach a settlement or positive verdict. The Lyon Firm will review your case for free and assess what compensation any plaintiff can expect through litigation.

Personal Injury cases can range from minor auto accidents to complex lawsuits filed against large corporations. The Lyon Firm has handled both with equal care. Severe injury requires legal action on occasion, no matter if the injury is the result of a vehicle accident, a dog bite, a boating accident, workplace injury, defective consumer products, medical malpractice, or toxic exposure.

What is the Process?

Pre-Suit Investigation and Negotiations: Personal injury lawsuits are unique and require a thorough investigation before a lawsuit is filed. An initial investigation involves gathering all relevant medical records, accident reports, and interviews with available witnesses.  Preservation letters are drafted to notify the defendant of the case. The duty to preserve electronic evidence is critical in most cases to prevent spoliation.

Filing a Lawsuit in Cincinnati: If pre-suit negotiations are unsuccessful, then a lawsuit must be filed to preserve the statute of limitations.  Filing a lawsuit early in the process is often necessary to begin gathering evidence while the witnesses memories are fresh and documents remain available.

Once suit is filed by your personal injury lawyer, the court will set a case management schedule and the parties will begin exchanging information in the formal process of discovery. Depositions will be taken to preserve testimony for trial and to understand what certain witnesses are likely to say at trial.

Proving Negligence, Causation and Damages: In addition to lay witness testimony and other documentary evidence, personal injury claims rely upon medical and scientific evidence to prove negligence, causation and damages. The chosen expert in a case must have a reliable and sound basis in science and in the facts of the case or his opinion may not be admissible under the rules of evidence.

In the areas of Toxic and Environmental Torts, the admission of expert testimony may be scrutinized harder than in other areas simply because the subject may not have been as widely tested and may rest on novel scientific theories.

Has My Car Been Recalled?

Consumers can follow recall news or search for current and past recalls on the Web sites of the NHTSA, as well as on other car safety advocate outlets. Look on your car windshield for a 17-character Vehicle Identification Number. Your VIN is also located on your car’s registration card.

If your car has been recalled and you have suffered an injury, contact an auto defect attorney to investigate a potential claim

Can I File an Auto Defect Lawsuit?

You may not be aware that your car is defective. It is not always obvious when your seat belt or other safety component fails to function as intended. It can take an expert in auto engineering to determine what contributed to an accident or injury.

You can contact The Lyon Firm, and we will work diligently to review your auto accident case. If an auto defect was in part responsible for an auto injury, a lawsuit can be filed and a large settlement is likely.

If negligent manufacturers and automakers are directly responsible for an auto-related injury, a product liability and personal injury lawsuit may be filed and compensation may be recovered for accident victims. Plaintiffs may seek compensation that may include property damages, past and future medical expenses, lost wages and future earnings, and pain and suffering.

The Lyon Firm takes pride in representing consumers to make America’s roads safer by holding negligent auto manufacturers accountable for auto defects that lead to accidents and injuries. When car makers fail to institute basic safety measures and fail to test auto components before releasing cars tot he public, they may be targeted in product liability lawsuits.

Did an Auto Defect Cause my Accident?

Auto defects have been known to cause accidents in tire failure, tread separation accidents, brake malfunction and sudden acceleration cases.

Auto defects may not cause every accident, but they can play an integral part in causing injury in the event of an accident. This is common in defective seat back collapse, seat belt defects and airbag defects. When these crucial safety features fail to function as they were intended.

Who is Responsible for Auto Defects?

Auto manufacturers and car makers can be held liable in auto defect lawsuits. Many automakers outsource some of their production and may not always be aware of some defects. Honda, for example, purchased all their defective airbags from Takata.

Some defective auto part suits name other defendants like negligent auto dealerships or auto repair shops who alter car parts or fail to properly repair automobiles and leave a serious safety risk.

What Cars are Defective?

The list of defective automobiles changes each year, and it is more likely that certain components are defective rather than an entire brand name. Nowadays many car makers use the same third-party suppliers, which compounds safety issues when a defective auto part is produced.

What are the Most common Auto Defects?

In recent years, the most common auto defects have been faulty airbags. Millions of cars were recalled for defective airbags. Other common auto defects are defective throttles, defective car software, and tire failures. Tire failure has been an issue in many car accidents and truck accidents.

Why Hire a Product Liability Attorney?

A Cincinnati Auto Defect Lawyer can assist in not only reviewing your accident and injury case, but is able to hold large corporations accountable for the negligent actions in releasing unsafe products to the public.

Auto companies must be held liable in order to keep the roads safe in America. So not only can The Lyon Firm seek compensation for injured plaintiffs, but we can file lawsuits to punish car makers for failing to properly test their auto parts before they are sold to the public.

When car makers fail to produce reliable cars and fail to provide basic road safety features, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and product liability attorneys can hold them responsible and help mitigate injuries and future damages.

The majority of accidents and injuries on the road are preventable, but defective auto design and manufacturing defects may leave victims with huge medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and, in many cases, permanent injuries.

Our Victories

The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against negligent individuals or companies to obtain just compensation under the law. 



(Brown County, Kentucky):   The Lyon Firm was second chair a case involving a driver texting and driving when he crossed the median, killing a father of four. The case was resolved once discovery confirmed the cell phone records proved the texting-related incident. The settlement will pay for the surviving childrens’ education. The driver was likely facing additional criminal charges at the time of the settlement.



(Cincinnati, Ohio):  The Lyon Firm was lead counsel in a $495,000 settlement. This case involved a motorcycle operator who sustained fractures of the calcaneus, talus, medial cuneiform, tarsal bones, and tarsometatarsal when a car ignored its driving lane and crossed into his right-of-way. Settlement provided repayment of medical bills of $20,000 and funds for future education to re-enter the work force in a less physically-demanding job.