Automatic doors closed too fast; woman sues hospital and manufacturer

Kelly Holleran Feb. 24, 2010, 1:52am

A Madison County woman filed suit against a Maryville hospital and a door manufacturer after she says an automatic door closed on her, forcing her to fall to the ground.

Karen Sue Wellen claims she was attempting to exit defendant Anderson's hospital, known as the Pavilion for Women, when the automatic doors struck her in a sudden and unexpected manner.

According to the complaint filed Feb. 18 in Madison County Circuit Court, Wellen sustained a left distal radial fracture, also known as a broken wrist, when she fell. In addition, she was forced to undergo surgery and physical therapy; experienced great pain and suffering; and incurred medical costs, the suit states.

She blames the hospital for causing her injuries, saying it failed to maintain the doors in a safe manner, failed to regulate the time the automatic doors stayed open, failed to properly maintain the automatic doors and failed to properly warn pedestrian invitees of the insufficient time the automatic doors did not remain open.

In addition, defendant The Stanley Works negligently failed to include a sensing device in the door that would allow it to remain open for a sufficient time, designed the doors so they would close while people were walking through them, designed the doors so they would unexpectedly close and strike their users, failed to warn users that the doors were prone to suddenly closing, failed to warn the owner of the automatic doors that were known to quickly close and failed to provide warnings to the general public that the automatic doors had a propensity to suddenly close, the complaint says.

In her four-count suit, Wellen is seeking a judgment of more than $200,000, plus costs.

She will be represented by William L. Berry and Jason Corray of William Berry and Associates in Collinsville.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-184.

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