We live in a digital age, in which new technological inventions seem to be announced every single day. One of the most discussed technological inventions of 2016 and something that is sure to stay in the spotlight during 2017 is driverless cars. These machines offer consumers the convenience of a personal vehicle with the added bonus of not needing to pilot the car, leaving passengers free to read, catch up on work, or engage in other activities.
Recently, however, a federal class action lawsuit alleges that one of Tesla’s self-driving vehicles has logged 62 times more “sudden unintended acceleration” events than the average nationwide. The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit alleges that his Tesla vehicle, a Model X SUV, crashed through a wall in his garage as a result of one of these unintended acceleration events.
Tesla considers itself a software company, and its founder, Elon Musk, has described its vehicles as “computers on wheels.” The driverless function of the vehicle is intended to make all the decisions for the driver. Computer engineers who design the software are responsible for anticipating the many different scenarios that a vehicle may encounter and to program the computer to make the appropriate decisions necessary to navigate each scenario safely. In December 2015, Musk reported that the computer software was so advanced that the vehicle could not only track the car in front of it but also the two vehicles in front of it. He also stated that the vehicle could see through rain, snow, dust, and fog. He projected that by 2017, all Tesla vehicles will have full self-driving abilities.
Since releasing the Model X in 2015, Tesla sold some 16,000 models in the United States. The vehicles are equipped with an electronic acceleration system that allows them to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 2.9 to 3.8 seconds.
According to the plaintiff’s complaint, in the first year after the Model X was offered, Tesla received or was otherwise made aware of at least 10 incidents in which Model X owners experienced a sudden unintended acceleration event while either parking or driving the Model X at a slow speed. At least eight of these events were reported to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
The injuries and damages that can result from an unintended acceleration event could be devastating and could even lead to fatalities. Individuals who suffer injuries as a result of a defective product, including a vehicle like the Model X, can bring a strict product liability claim against the company that manufactured the vehicle. In the claim, the plaintiff must prove that the product was designed in an unreasonably dangerous manner, suffered from a defect during the manufacturing process, or failed to include appropriate warnings and instructions. Each state imposes slightly different requirements regarding how the plaintiff must prove his or her claim.
The dedicated auto defect lawyers at Moll Law Group have handled claims on behalf of victims and their families throughout the United States. Many of our clients are located in states such as Illinois, Texas, California, and New York. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about your legal options and whether you may be entitled to compensation. To set up your appointment, call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online.