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Tesla is among the most widely recognized and sought-after electric car models. The company hopes to push the world forward to more sustainable practices by offering electric cars that do not sacrifice the efficiency and quality of gas-powered vehicles. However, while the sustainable intention is noble, some Tesla users have reported a variety of malfunctions associated with the electric car brand. All car manufacturers, whether electric or gas, should prioritize the safety of the consumer first and foremost. If a defective Tesla harmed you, speak with one of our trusted attorneys here at The Lake Law Firm to learn more about how a Tesla lawsuit can help you.
Our law firm is representing individuals who have been injured or suffered the death of a family member in an accident with a Tesla vehicle. Lawsuits against Tesla allege that various defects in Tesla vehicles have led to serious injuries and deaths. These include explosions, autopilot malfunctions, sudden acceleration, airbag malfunctions, and seatbelt failure. Following some of these deadly occurrences, regulatory agencies have launched investigations into Tesla.
The famous business tycoon and investor, Elon Musk, is most notably tied to Tesla. Although a group of Silicon Valley engineers originally incorporated Tesla in 2003, Musk served as an early angel investor and spearheaded the company’s mission goal to provide affordable electric cars. In 2008, Tesla revealed its first electric car model, the Roadster. After avoiding bankruptcy and going public, the company eventually introduced its first mass-model car, the Model 3, in 2017. Along the way, Tesla introduced features such as the innovative Autopilot and the wall-mount electric charging port in 2015. With its Autopilot feature, Musk hoped to make the self-driving technology “10 times safer” than manual driving.
In June 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed the first known incident of a fatal Tesla Autopilot crash. The driver previously avoided a collision in his 2015 Tesla Model S back in April. Yet, Tesla’s Autopilot is not the only Tesla feature under scrutiny. Drivers have reported dangerous and life-threatening malfunctions while in Tesla vehicles.
Explosions in Tesla cars have killed several passengers and drivers in the United States and abroad. Lithium-ion batteries have an increased risk of explosion. A high-speed crash may shock the lithium-ion battery and result in an explosion. One accident in 2017 caused the Tesla Model S to immediately explode upon impact. Tesla vehicles have also exploded or caught fire while charging idly with no preceding shock due to overcharging or overheating of the lithium-ion battery cells. These fires can last longer and prove more destructive than regular fires.
Furthermore, in 2013, several Tesla fire incidents occurred because of road debris puncturing the lithium-ion battery pack. To remedy this hazard, Tesla added a titanium shell that prevented the punctures.
In August 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation of Tesla’s Autopilot system after at least 11 incidents in which Teslas drove into parked emergency vehicles with the Autopilot engaged. Tesla equips hundreds of thousands of its vehicles with Autopilot. The first accident involving Autopilot occurred in 2016 when the driver of a Tesla Model S crashed into a tractor-trailer in Florida and subsequently died. The NHTSA is scrutinizing the Autopilot system to determine the cause of the malfunction and what steps Tesla must take, including a recall or additional safety features, to address this issue.
In February 2022, Tesla recalled over 53,000 models with self-driving features over concerns that the cars would not halt at stop signs. The rolling stop feature allows drivers to continue through an intersection even if it is not safe to do so.
Sudden, unintended acceleration has been reported in at least four different Tesla models in over 200 incidents that resulted in crashes. The number of complaints of sudden acceleration is higher than in other vehicles with comparable technological features. Electric vehicles are prone to the type of rapid acceleration that is more common among high-end standard cars. This feature has resulted in injuries as Tesla vehicles have jumped off suddenly from a standstill position.
In 2020, a Maryland man brought a lawsuit against Tesla stemming from an accident in which the airbag failed to deploy after his car crashed into a guardrail on the I-95 Interstate. Upon collision, none of the airbags managed to deploy, leaving the driver with severe brain damage. This claim is the first known claim to focus on Tesla’s faulty airbag mechanism. Tesla recently announced a recall of some of its Model S and Model X vehicles due to defective airbags that failed to protect drivers.
In the lawsuit against Tesla brought by the Maryland couple for airbag failure, the plaintiffs also allege that the seatbelt failed to restrain them and contributed to the passenger’s devastating brain injury. The lawsuit claims that the car was unreasonably dangerous due to its faulty seatbelt mechanism. In June 2021, Tesla issued two recalls to address seatbelt failures because of poorly attached seatbelt fasteners. An improperly attached fastener can compromise the seatbelt’s ability to prevent injuries to passengers.
Tesla claims that its Model 3 is the “safest car ever built,” but Tesla vehicles have caused serious injuries due to operational and mechanical defects. Between June 2016 and May 2021, the NHTSA investigated 36 crashes involving Tesla vehicles, some of which resulted in the death of a driver, passenger, or pedestrian.
In June 2022, the NHTSA announced that Teslas with Autopilot software have been involved in 273 crashes since July.
Experts have identified faulty battery design and negligent manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries as potential causes of spontaneous explosions. Many of these incidents have raised concerns as to whether Tesla’s battery technology is inherently safe. Investigations will determine whether injuries resulting from autopilot malfunctions indicate flaws in the car’s ability to detect and brake for parked cars.
Over the last six months, Tesla has issued over a dozen recalls.
Manufacturers like Tesla can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by defects in their vehicles. Under the theory of strict liability, Tesla is liable for damage caused by its vehicles regardless of the care it exercised in designing its cars or whether it knew about the defect. The different types of strict liability include:
If a defective Tesla injured you or a loved one, you may recover compensation for any or all of the following:
The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. The Lake Law Firm will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation.