On “Lawyer Up With Lisa” this week, Attorney Lisa Lanier discussed a product liability lawsuit that was recently filed in federal court in Northern California against Tesla. The lawsuit alleges that the Tesla Model X hit and killed a pedestrian while in autopilot mode. This is the first known fatality of a pedestrian involving The Tesla self-driving feature. The wrongful death action alleges design defects and a failure to warn consumers of dangers in the product.
There have been many other personal injury claims brought against Tesla as a result of numerous crashes blamed on the autopilot feature. In 2016 a Tesla Model X Was blamed for a passenger fatality when the vehicle slammed into a median barrier at a high rate of speed. Another fatality was blamed on the Tesla self-driving feature when a Florida motorist died as a result of his Tesla driving underneath a semi-truck.
Tesla’s defenders all cite driver error in these deaths. The level two and three self-driving vehicles are co-driven by a human being. Tesla advocates argue that the driver can become bored and distracted when the autopilot feature is engaged and are lulled into a sense that their attention is not required. Engineers working to improve self-driving vehicles point out that the Tesla autopilot has difficulty in a “cut out” situation. A cut out” involves a vehicle traveling in front of the Tesla making a sudden lane change often as a result of some obstacle such as a stopped vehicle or obstruction in the roadway.
Tesla faces an uphill battle in these cases, as many states have strict liability in products liability cases involving personal injuries that result from a dangerous or defective product.
Contact Lanier Law Group, P.A. at (855) 757-4204 to discuss a product liability case with our experienced legal team.