For years some luxury automakers, like Mercedes-Benz, have offered a ridiculous power door closing feature. You swing the door shut, it reaches an initial detent position, then for some reason an electric motor is made to pull it for the last few millimeters. I guess the idea is it provides a tighter seal. Here's what it looks like in action:
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Now a Mercedes-Benz owner and deputy chief of police in Arizona is suing the company, claiming that this feature was responsible for cutting his thumb off. According to Car Complaints:
The plaintiff and his wife returned home in their 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 SUV on October 8, 2021, a year after he first leased the vehicle. After pulling into the garage, [plaintiff Richard J.] Kastigar exited the vehicle with his back to the car. The lawsuit says with his right hand behind his back near the B-pillar and his right thumb on the inside door column, the door suddenly pulled shut on his thumb.
Mr. Kastigar says he felt his right thumb being crushed by the door and watched as the door severed the upper half of his thumb.
An emergency room physician "attempted to reconstruct the distal portion of Plaintiff's right thumb. Sadly, by that time it was too late to restore Mr. Kastigar's thumb to its pre-injury condition." The lawsuit says the plaintiff underwent emergency surgery "to remove the protruding distal phalanx bone and surrounding soft tissue and nerves."
The lawsuit claims that Mercedes-Benz is at fault for not installing any obstruction-sensing sensors in the door-closing system. The suit isn't the first of its kind: Several years ago, a class action lawsuit brought against BMW for the same reasons was thrown out of court. "The judge said that humans have been slamming their fingers in doors since doors were invented," Car Complaints reports, "and the doors on BMW's vehicles are no exception."
I'm not sure who I side with here. It seems insane that such a feature wouldn't have safety sensors, but wouldn't the plaintiff have damaged his thumb all the same if he'd slammed it in a conventional door?