It seems soft-closing doors can be used for more than just making sure the door is tightly closed. They can also be used to sever part of your thumb. Because of this extra feature, Mercedes-Benz is being sued.
Richard J. Kastigar, Jr. is taking Mercedes to court after his 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450’s soft-close door ripped off part of his thumb in October 2021, Car Complaints reports. That’s a full year after he first leased the car.
Kastigar — who happens to be chief deputy of the Pima County Sheriff Department in Arizona — said that while his back was facing the GLE, his right thumb was still inside the door column. That’s when the soft-close mechanism suddenly applied its force to shut the door. He said he could feel his thumb being crushed by the door and was forced to watch his digit being amputated.
Surgeons unfortunately were not able to reconstruct the thumb.
According to the lawsuit, due to the injury, Kastigar is expected to lose half a million dollars in wages since he can no longer work.
“A once proud and independent man who protects the public from harm now relies on his wife to assist him with going to the bathroom, showering, brushing his teeth, getting dressed, and buttoning his shirt,” the lawsuit says. “He has great difficulties holding a pen, feeding himself, tying his shoes, using tools, and assisting around the house with chores such as laundry and washing dishes.”
The lawsuit also calls for Mercedes-Benz’s soft closing doors to use sensors in order to avoid future issues like this one. It also says the company shouldn’t be marketing this feature if protective sensors aren’t installed, as there aren’t any warnings about a possible danger.
MB isn’t the only company with a soft-close feature like this. In fact, most luxury brands have similar operations. According to CarBuzz, a similar lawsuit was brought against BMW in 2017 but was dismissed by the judge. They said this sort of injury was in line with owners who have been slamming fingers in car doors since car doors were invented.
Time will tell if this lawsuit will be successful, however, as it does call the feature “nothing short of a modern-day guillotine.” Very strong words.