Tesla Sued After Autopilot Accident Kills One
Tesla is facing yet another lawsuit after a Model 3 collided with a pickup truck ending the life of a 15-year-old boy. The driver of the Tesla has also been sued. The autopilot was engaged when the accident occurred. The crash, which was caught on dashcam video, shows that the Model 3 was traveling at about 70 mph. The pickup truck was attempting to change lanes but then moved back into the original lane. The force of the collision caused the pickup to flip. The teenage driver was ejected and died at the scene. The family has filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful death against Tesla and the driver of the Model 3.
Tesla is being sued under product liability statutes, which may not work. Since the accident occurred in California, the home of Silicon Valley, the tech elites have done a great job of protecting their products from liability. Essentially, most software is considered a service—not a product—which prevents lawsuits from being held to lower standards as they are in product liability suits. Companies that manufacture products are strictly liable for the wares meaning that so long as the end-user used the product in a way that could be readily anticipated by the company, the company is responsible for any injuries they cause. That is not the case with a service.
However, the stronger claim is that Tesla misleads its customers about the efficacy of their autopilot, leading customers to believe that the autopilot is safe under all road conditions or can function as well as a human driver. The plaintiffs contend that this is not the case, the autopilot requires considerable oversight, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to use the autopilot during heavy traffic. If this allegation can be proven, then the plaintiffs would have a strong case against Tesla regardless of whether or not their autopilot is considered a product or a service.
Tesla, however, believes that the accusations are baseless and insists that the accident is the sole fault of the drivers. According to Tesla, the autopilot worked the way it was supposed to work. It detected the other vehicle, slowed down to mitigate the impact, and the driver survived. Tesla has also said that the autopilot should not have been used in heavy traffic. Tesla’s argument is thus: The autopilot should not have been on in the first place, but since it was, it performed within specifications.
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The Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert handle lawsuits related to defective auto parts. If you have been injured in an accident involving a defective auto part like a tire, autopilot, or anything else, give our office a call and we may be able to recover damages related to your injuries, loss of income, and reduced quality of life.