The Andres Lopez Law Firm

Tesla autopilot blamed for crash

Car crashes often involve a negligent, distracted or impaired driver. New technology, however, is also playing a role in motor vehicle accidents. An accident victim recently filed a lawsuit against Tesla claiming that it misrepresented the effectiveness of its Autopilot system and holding it liable for a crash on the Florida Turnpike.

The plaintiff was driving a Tesla Model S between his home in Winter Gardens and his job in Fort Pierce. He relied on the Autopilot system because of the boredom of a 125-commute.

His vehicle approached a disabled vehicle in the left lane but kept going and crashed into that car. The plaintiff claimed that he suffered permanent injuries. The front end of his car was also destroyed.

The plaintiff admitted that he occasionally looked at his phone while the autopilot was engaged. Under Florida law, drivers may speak on the phone while driving but texting and driving is prohibited.

However, the plaintiff claimed that a sales representative at the Tesla store claimed that the system would allow his car to drive itself between locations with minimal driver oversight or participation. He claimed that Tesla and its employees did not accurately describe the system's capabilities. Their promotional materials also misrepresented its effectiveness.

The plaintiff charged Tesla with liability, negligence and misrepresentation in his suit. He also filed a negligence complaint against the owner of the disabled vehicle for leaving it on the highway.

Tesla denied that the device malfunctioned even though it was unable to review vehicle data because the car did not transmit data to its servers. It also holds drivers responsible for paying attention to driving. It claimed that its systems operated as intended.

However, another lawsuit was filed against Tesla in Utah in Sept. A Model S crashed into a fire truck that was stopped at a traffic light. The driver believed that his vehicle would automatically stop for all obstacles in its path when the Autopilot was on.

Victims of an accident caused by other negligent drivers or defective equipment should seek immediate legal assistance. An attorney can help file a timely lawsuit for compensation.

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