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Amputations from Doors or Door Hardware


A 25 year old woman lost a finger while exiting a restaurant. As she pressed on the door panic hardware to unlock and open the door, her wedding ring got caught on a protruding bolt or screw and the force of the door ripped off her finger.

A 78 year old man finished his dinner at a Mexican restaurant, visited the restroom, and as he entered the men's room he pushed the door open, but the door slammed back at him, severing three fingers.

A grade school child in a public school ran toward the hallway doors, pushing them open only to find that they slammed back at her causing her to fall and trap her foot in the door, which resulted in some toe amputation.

Amputation is the removal of a body extremity. Door related injuries and limb amputations can occur when doors are either improperly maintained, not adjusted properly, broken, or if the wrong type of door or door hardware is installed.

Michael Panish is the most designated and retained door expert in the country and has been the retained expert witness on over 50 amputation injury cases caused by doors. He is retained almost equally by plaintiff and defense.

Some of the injuries Mr. Panish has seen have involved loss of arms, feet, hands, toes, and fingers. Some of the types of amputations that can occur from doors that are improperly maintained are:

Guillotine type amputations involving sharp objects (door edges, door hardware) which can result in significant tissue damage.

Avulsion injuries caused by fingers being caught on an object (door hardware part) as the person is falling, which can tear and pull the fingers off.

Crush amputations from doors and door hardware that smashes onto fingers, hands, and feet.

Many different injuries result from defective door hardware that has created unexpected accelerations of a variety of door types. Sectional and single panel garage doors have been the subject of approximately 25 % of the amputation cases Mr. Panish has seen. Manual and automatic door operators have been involved in around 40% of the cases, causing injuries that resulted in instantaneous or delayed amputations. Inappropriate behavior on the part of the injured parties makes up another 25 % of the cases Mike Panish has analyzed. The remaining 10 % were the result of industrial accidents (OSHA / NIOSH) or possibly improper training and supervision of workmen in potentially hazardous situations.

It is more common than you may think for an improperly adjusted or maintained door to cause an amputation injury. This can occur in a residential setting, retail, and commercial environment.

Many personal injury and premises liability claims have been made against homeowners, homeowner associations, and apartment and building management firms. The claim is usually handled by a defense firm working through an insurance adjuster or claim investigator. Often, the insurance company, after seeking door expert Mike Panish's expertise, reaches the determination that the injury sustained by the plaintiff was not really the responsibility of the homeowner or building management. Instead, the course of events leading to the injuries are often found to be questionable and unable to be verified.

In one past case, an attorney was trying to prove that a workman sent out by his employer / contractor was not responsible for an amputated hand injury, and was attempting to blame the ownership of the property where the incident occurred. At the same time, another attorney working on behalf of the employer's insurance provider was trying to understand the facts related to the injury claim made to the insurance provider. Mr. Panish was asked to be involved in this case to help sort out the facts surrounding the claim by the insurance attorney. After a thorough site inspection, it was obvious that the workman acted negligently and was, in fact, the person responsible for his own injury. The claim was simply a worker's compensation work injury, brought about by a worker that was improperly trained, and did not understand the proper procedures for doing the type of work that he was tasked to perform. The accident that removed his hand was not caused by the conditions found at the incident site, but rather by the lack of expertise, training, and experience that the workman possessed.

Mike Panish is the most experienced and most retained expert witness in the country for amputation injuries stemming from door related injuries, including manual doors, automatic doors, garage doors, garage doors, overhead and drop down doors, and truck roll up doors.