A Tesla Autopilot lawsuit may be an option for persons injured or killed as a result of accidents caused by the semi-autonomous technology used by the electric car maker. Multiple near-misses and at least one fatal accident have been noted by car accident attorneys as linked to the developing technology.
If you or a loved one are injured or killed in an accident involving Tesla Autopilot software or another type of self-driving technology, contact Attorney Group today. We offer free, confidential consultations and can help answer your questions. If you choose to pursue a claim for compensation, we can connect you with an affiliated car accident attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
What is a Tesla Autopilot?
Announced on October 14, 2015 in a post on the Tesla website, Autopilot software allows for semi-automated driving capabilities. The technology uses forward radar, a forward-looking camera, ultrasonic sensors, and a digitally controlled electric assist braking system. According to the company:
Tesla Autopilot relieves drivers of the most tedious and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel. We’re building Autopilot to give you more confidence behind the wheel, increase your safety on the road, and make highway driving more enjoyable. While truly driverless cars are still a few years away, Tesla Autopilot functions like the systems that airplane pilots use when conditions are clear. The driver is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car. What’s more, you always have intuitive access to the information your car is using to inform its actions.
Despite these claims and qualifications for the use of the new technology, it is anticipated that drivers who adopt Autopilot will take time to learn the limitations of the technology. As a result, accidents are possible, and injured parties may be eligible to pursue a Tesla Autopilot lawsuit.
Tesla Autopilot Accident: Close Calls Reported
According to an October 16, 2015 article in Road and Track, at least one driver has already had a close call while using Autopilot on a freeway in Oregon. In reporting on a video showing a driver using the new technology, the article states:
In the video, a man and what sounds like two passengers are driving along U.S. Highway 26 outside of Portland, Oregon as the driver shows off Autopilot on the crowded freeway. Most of the clip is uneventful, with the car maintaining its position in the lane and applying the throttle and brakes when necessary. But at the very end, when the driver keeps Autopilot enabled on an exit ramp, the situation gets hairy. From what it looks like, the car doesn’t follow the ramp left and continues going straight, causing the driver to panic and yank the wheel.
While the driver was able to avoid an accident, it appears likely that accidents will occur while drivers learn to use Autopilot. If those accidents result in serious injury or death, a Tesla Autopilot lawsuit could result.
Several other incidents involving a close call with a driver using Tesla Autopilot software have been reported, including:
- This incident, caught on video and showing a near-miss while a driver was attempting to exit a highway. The driver keeps the Autopilot engaged while driving on an exit ramp, and it appears the Model S continues to drive straight instead of following the ramp to the left. The driver was alert enough to quickly grab the steering wheel avoiding an accident. (source: CNET)
- Another near-miss, where a Tesla Model S, travelling on a two-lane highway, begins to veer from its lane. Fortunately there was no oncoming traffic, so nothing happened. But then another car approaches and the Tesla vehicle begins to cross the double-yellow line into its path and almost hits it. The driver had to react quickly to avoid a head-on collision. (source: CNET)
- A third near-miss shows a Tesla Model S approaching a bend in the road and the Autopilot appears to want to keep driving the car straight. The driver quickly takes control of the steering wheel and takes the bend safely. (source: Daily Mail)
Tesla Autopilot Accident Death
According to nbcnews.com, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has begun an investigation into a deadly crash involving a Tesla Model S self-driving vehicle. The May 2016 accident occurred in Florida and it is the first fatal crash involving the new technology.
The 40-year-old driver was killed when he failed to notice a semi truck make a left turn in front of him on the highway. The Autopilot feature reportedly failed to slow the vehicle down and impacted the side of the tractor trailer.
The NHTSA’s Office of Defects states that it “will examine the design and performance of the automated driving systems in use at the time of the crash.” The investigation of the autopilot system will affect 25,000 Tesla Model S vehicles.
How a Tesla Autopilot Lawsuit Can Help
Automakers have a duty to manufacture and sell vehicles that are safe and meet applicable regulatory requirements. If they fail to do so, then drivers and passengers who get injured as a result could be entitled to compensation.
Drivers or passengers who are injured in car accidents caused by defective or unsafe vehicle components, including vehicle software, may be entitled to compensation for damages resulting from their injuries, including:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income or ability to work
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish resulting from an injury
If a driver or passenger is killed in a car accident, his or her family members may be able to pursue compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one. Wrongful death damages can include:
- Mental anguish, and pain and suffering from the loss of a loved one
- Loss of relationship or financial support of a loved one
- Funeral expenses
- Conscious pain and suffering or a loved one prior to death
A qualified car accident attorney can help people with questions about a potential Tesla Autopilot lawsuit learn more about their rights and remedies.
Contact Us For More Information
If you would like more information about a potential Tesla Autopilot lawsuit, or about your options following an accident involving self-driving technology, contact Attorney Group for more information.
When you contact us, an attorney will follow up with you to speak with you about your case or answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.
Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.
See our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information, and contact Attorney Group today.