Automated Door at Retail Store Severely Injures Child’s Hand

Michael Talve, CEO

Written by
— Updated on January 4, 2017

This case involves an automated door at a retail store that severely injured a young child. The plaintiff, a seven-year-old male, was entering a large retail store. The entrance to the retail store had an automated door closer, which was activated by pushing a button. The retail store had installed the door closer because the door was oversized, and, prior to the closer’s installation, would close on employees as they were transporting large items to customers’ vehicles. As the child was entering the store, the door began to close, without the button being pushed. The child’s hand was caught in the door and it fractured 7 bones in his hand, which required three surgeries to repair.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. What are the safety procedures put in place for an automatic door closer?

Expert Witness Response E-000906

Automatic door closers usually have a timer that closes the door if the button is not pressed after a certain amount of time. Almost all automatic door closers, however, are connected to a laser sensor or a pressure sensor that keeps the door from closing if there is someone in the doorway. If no safety mechanism was in place, it was extremely negligent on the part of the retail store. Additionally, if said mechanism was in place, it is important to regularly check the mechanism in order to verify it is working properly. I have over thirty years of experience designing and installing automatic doors for large, commercial buildings. Also, I have been published numerous times on the issues of automatic doorway safety, and I have served as an expert witness on two prior occasions.

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