Malfunctioning Automatic Door at a Hospital Leads to Injury

This case study examines a personal injury incident involving an elderly individual who was injured by malfunctioning automatic doors at a hospital.

ByZach Barreto


Published on February 20, 2024

Automatic doors at building entrance

Case Overview

This case study delves into an incident involving a senior citizen who sustained injuries due to an alleged malfunctioning of automatic doors at a healthcare facility. The individual was exiting through the double automatic doors when they abruptly closed on them, causing injury.

This event, which transpired in August, was recorded on surveillance cameras. It is contended that the automatic doors were defective and should not have been released while the individual was still within their path. The case seeks expert insight on automatic door mechanisms, with a specific focus on door sensors, to ascertain if there indeed existed a defect.

Questions to the Automatic Door expert and their responses


Could you provide some background on your professional experience with automatic doors, particularly concerning door sensors?

I bring over 30 years of industry experience in automatic doors to this case. My career has spanned installation, servicing, and co-authoring relevant ANSI standards via associations such as the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) and American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM).

I currently work for a sensor manufacturer during regular business hours. This role has equipped me with comprehensive knowledge and expertise regarding sensors for various types of doors and applications.


What are the standard safety mechanisms employed in automatic doors to prevent them from closing on individuals passing through?

Automatic doors typically utilize several safety mechanisms to ensure they do not close on individuals. These include motion detectors that sense movement within a certain range of the door and safety beams or infrared sensors that detect objects or people in the path of the door. If these sensors detect any obstruction, they send a signal to keep the door open until the path is clear.

About the expert

This expert boasts over three decades of experience in the automatic door industry, with a focus on electrical and electronics engineering. They hold multiple certifications, including AAADM inspector and trainer, and have extensive training in various aspects of automatic doors such as maintenance and troubleshooting. Currently serving as the codes and standards compliance manager at a leading automatic door sensor manufacturer, this expert has been instrumental in developing best practices for field and lab testing of automatic door systems and amending relevant codes and standards for several professional organizations.

Expert headshot



About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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