How we’re responding to the COVID-19 virus Read More

Ford is recalling more than two million models of sedans, crossovers, and vans because the doors have the potential to fly open while the vehicle is being driven, causing major safety concerns for people across the U.S. and their families.

Faulty spring tabs used in the car’s design are susceptible to cracking, especially when subjected to high heat, making it difficult to close the door properly in the first place. This defective thermal threshold has been an issue that has plagued Ford door design for years.

This is now the third recall to fix the following Ford models ranging from 2011 to 2016 (model year ranges vary by the specific model):

  • Focus
  • Fusion
  • Fiesta
  • Escape
  • C-Max
  • Lincoln MKZ
  • Lincoln MKC
  • Mustang
  • Transit Connect van

According to Ford, some dealers that claimed to have fixed this problem during the previous recalls (15S16 or 16S30) either didn’t do them properly or didn’t do them at all.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported numerous complaints on this issue. While Ford has said in a statement that it is not aware of any crashes or injuries directly related, it is a no-brainer that a door suddenly flying open while driving can cause distraction that could lead to an accident or, worse, can cause someone to be ejected from the vehicle in the event of an accident. The injuries resulting from such an occasion can be catastrophic.

Previous Ford Recalls

This recall follows two earlier recalls in 2016 and 2017 covering the same problem but in different subsets of Ford and Lincoln vehicles. While these issues have continuously been investigated and recalled in at least five million vehicles—at no small expense to Ford—it keeps expanding to include more cars and trucks. It would seem that Ford can’t get a handle on their door handle problems.

Common complaints over the years have not just been about the car door flying open during operation, but also in trying to close the door, it may bounce back due to the latch not being in the correct position, in turn, causing potential injury on the rebound. Users have also reported seeing a warning light that says “Door Ajar” and finding the door unlatched upon checking, and some owners have even had to tie the doors shut.

These issues should’ve been fixed in not just this recall but any of the recalls before. Ford has been aware of their door handle problems for years and they still continue to profit off of these popular models of cars.

Our Past Experience With Latch Defect Litigation Against Ford

Jason Frede and Alicia Frede v. Ford Motor Company

Our auto product liability attorneys have successfully handled a variety of car defect cases for many years and in states all over the country.

One such case was an accident that occurred in 1997 in which a Ford Explorer was involved in a rollover in Callaway County, Missouri. Plaintiff Jason Frede was driving with his sister Ally in the front passenger seat. During the course of the rollover, both doors on the Ford Explorer opened, partially ejecting both plaintiffs and causing severe injuries, including ones to both individuals’ vertebrates. This accident resulted in a combined total of over a million dollars of medical bills between the two plaintiffs over the years that followed.

Plaintiffs filed the case in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis alleging that the Ford Explorer was defective and unreasonably dangerous, including claims that the door latch could come open during crashes and the vehicle was inherently unstable and prone to rollover.

Through discovery, the Plaintiffs were able to establish that Ford Motor Company was aware that doors on the Explorer—and other Ford vehicles—could come open in foreseeable crash scenarios. Additionally, Ford has known since the 1960s that the likelihood of injury substantially increases during a rollover if the doors come open.

For example, Ford Engineering performed a study in 1969 of rollover accidents and the statistical probability of injury during rollovers. This study concluded that:

  • The risk of ejection is high in rollover accidents
  • The risk of injury is substantially greater if ejection has occurred
  • 53% of the occupants ejected in rollovers were ejected through an open door
  • Door opening was more frequent for vehicles involved in rollover accidents than for vehicles involved in other types of collisions

Plaintiffs argued that this information was sufficient to submit the issue of punitive damages to the jury. Put simply, Jason and Ally would not have suffered the severe and permanent injuries they did had the doors of the Ford Explorer remained closed during the rollover.

The case was successfully resolved on the eve of trial. The Simon Law Firm was able to obtain justice in the case, resulting in a confidential settlement.

Do YOU have a case?

Contact our Auto Product Liability Attorneys in St. Louis

Like most product liability matters, car defect cases are complex and can require a great deal of time and resources. A firm must have a solid understanding of the technical principles involved in both the design and manufacturing process of Fords and other car brands. Our proven track record of success shows that The Simon Law Firm, P.C. has the experience and resources necessary to handle these types of cases

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving a door latch failure, contact The Simon Law Firm to see if you have a case. Our consultation is free of charge.

We are prepared to represent you wherever you are in the United States from our centrally-located office in St. Louis. We provide the personal, resourceful, and effective legal services that you need to recover maximum compensation.