Yet another driver has come forward with a horror story about BMW’s soft close automatic doors, a luxury feature designed to provide “a helping hand” in tight parking spaces.
The feature works by automatically securing a door shut whenever it is within six millimeters of the lock, but several lawsuits claim that it does not include a sensor capable of detecting stray fingers or other body parts in the way.
Plaintiffs also claim that the closing is not so “soft.” Instead they describe it as an automatic feature in which doors slam so quickly that they leave permanent injuries before people have time to react.
Most recently, a Long Island woman named Alexis Fields and her husband filed a $10 million lawsuit claiming that the “helping hand” of soft-close automatic doors may be triggered at distances of more than six millimeters.
A bone-crushing injury
Fields says she took her 2012 BMW 750Li to have lunch and then drop her child off at a Halloween party in October 2016. She parked on the street.
The driver’s side door was allegedly halfway open when she rested her right hand on the doorframe. Before she had a time to react, she says, the door’s “soft close” feature automatically slammed the door shut and mangled her thumb.
The orthopedist who later treated her described it as "the worst bone-crushing injury" he'd seen in his career, according to the suit Fields and her husband filed last week in Brooklyn Federal Court. Fields says she lives with daily pain and weakened thumb muscles that make it impossible for her to go bowling, perform some household chores, or even write with a pen.
“My client has small children. She’s so thankful that their little fingers weren’t ruined by these doors. How many parents don’t know that the doors have no sensor and will crush their children’s hands?” Fields’ attorney Avi Cohen said in a prepared statement to ConsumerAffairs.
“BMW created a medieval-style torture device with these doors – I call it the ‘finger crusher,” he added.
Not the first injury case
BMW told the New York Daily News that it does not comment on pending litigation.
Cohen is also representing Godwin Boateng, a driver who filed a lawsuit in March claiming that his right thumb was left permanently mangled after a similar parking scenario in which he rested his hand on the door frame.
The recent cases follow a class-action lawsuit filed against BMW several years ago which also claimed that the soft-close door feature can mangle fingers and needs to be equipped with sensors. However, a federal judge tossed the case last year on the grounds that people have been accidentally slamming their car doors on their own fingers ever since vehicles were invented.