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The Importance of a Vehicle Door Latch During a Collision

October 27, 2016

Georgia Car Accident Lawyers Discuss the Importance of a Vehicle Door Latch during a Collision

While any serious motor vehicle accident poses a risk of causing severe injury, this danger is magnified when a vehicle occupant is ejected. There is a much higher probability of suffering catastrophic injuries if someone is ejected from a car, truck, or SUV. More than three out of four people ejected in a fatal crash die because of their injuries, according to the CDC. Some vehicle ejections are the product of faulty car door latches. Manufacturers of motor vehicles consider vehicle doors to be an essential part of the overall structural strength of the vehicle. It is reasonable to assume that car doors would be designed and manufactured to ensure that they are capable of withstanding the pressure and impact of a typical car accident. Unfortunately, many car door latching mechanisms are not designed to withstand the impact of a typical car crash. In this article, our Georgia car accident lawyers analyze the risk posed by substandard door latches.

Many Vehicle Door Latch/Lock Mechanisms Do Not Comply with Industry Safety Standards

While many vehicles come with automatic door locks, there is a wide range of vehicles in which this is not a standard feature. In vehicles without the feature, vehicle occupants must manually engage the door lock mechanism. While many vehicle safety experts understand that failure to engage the door lock mechanism can contribute to the door swinging open in a collision, many vehicle manufacturers do not provide adequate notice to consumers. If you have been injured or lost a loved one because a defective door latch failed during a collision, you may have the basis for a product liability claim against the vehicle manufacturer. Even if the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, it does not relieve the vehicle manufacturer of liability for a defectively designed or manufactured door latch.

Although there are industry standards that require door latch mechanisms to be designed to withstand certain levels of impact, there is no existing testing protocol to determine that door latches comply with these standards. Because there is no established testing procedure for determining whether latching mechanisms meet industry standards, vehicles are often manufactured with defective door latches that will not withstand the impact that they are supposed to be able to absorb safely.

One component of door latches that might be defective is the remote rod. This component is what connects the door handle to the door latch. If the remote rod bends under the force of impact during a collision, it may cause the door to fly open during a crash. Sometimes vehicles are designed with less safe remote rods. For example, tension-type rods are less reliable than compression type linkage rods according to many safety experts, but vehicle manufacturers do not always opt for the safer alternative. The way a vehicle is designed might also impact whether or not the remote rod is compromised during a collision. If a car door has more than one retention point, the risk of a car door flying open during a collision is reduced.

Vehicle Manufacturers Slow to Recall Defective Vehicles

Although a vehicle with a defective door latch can turn a minor collision into a catastrophic accident, vehicle manufacturers do not necessarily rush to recall vehicles because of the cost associated with a widespread recall. There have been several incidents in the past where recalls of vehicles were delayed, despite the company having information suggesting that the vehicle door latches did not meet minimum safety requirements under federal law.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 38 Years of Experience to Work For You!

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, our experienced Georgia car accident lawyers diligently strive for the fullest recovery under the law for our clients. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout Georgia and in the Southeast for over 38 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located, our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.