In a recent trial, a jury found that Tesla was only one percent responsible for the death of an 18-year old man after one of its vehicles crashed into a wall. As a result, the company is likely to face minimal costs for an alleged defect that, the jury found, partly contributed to the deaths of the young man and one other. The finding represents the first major lawsuit against the manufacturer relating to an alleged defect, and a major win for the car manufacturer.
What Was This Trial About?
The trial surrounds an incident in May 2018, when a young man was driving in his 2014 Tesla Model S. He had been attempting to pass another vehicle, but apparently lost control of the vehicle, and wound up speeding to 116 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. As a result, the vehicle crashed into a wall, killing the young man as well as a passenger. His parents sued Tesla after it was found that a speed limiter device had been disabled by a technician without their knowledge or consent.
What Did the Jury Find?
Upon consideration, the jury found the young man who was driving the car to be 90% responsible for the accident, due to his reckless driving and the fact that he had intentionally disabled the speed limiter, which should have prevented the car from going more than 85 mph. They also found the father to be 9% negligent, and Tesla to be 1% negligent. In other words, Tesla itself is only considered to be 1% responsible for the accident, and will only need to pay 1% of the $10.5 million originally awarded by the jury for the accident (or about $105,000).
How Will This Affect Tesla?
In the short term, the lawsuit represents a major victory for Tesla, who escaped most of the responsibility for the accident despite their own negligence. However, the company has faced numerous lawsuits and investigations over the past few years, and has been forced to issue multiple recalls for product defects in its vehicles. In particular, its Autopilot and Full Self Driving programs have faced scrutiny for alleged failures to safely control their vehicles.
What Should You Do?
If you own a Tesla or any other vehicle and you suffer an accident due to a major mechanical failure, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney with experience handling motor vehicle accidents can help you to go over your legal options, and help you to determine the best course of action for you. The sooner you call, the sooner they can get to work on your case.
If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you should contact the Tennessee personal injury lawyers at the Keith Williams Law Group. With convenient offices located in Nashville and Lebanon, our lawyers will work with you to create a litigation strategy that protects your legal rights and serves your personal needs. For more information or a free consultation, please contact us at 615-444-2900 or visit our contact page.