Close Menu

Tesla Sued After Underride Crash Leaves One Dead


A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Tesla following a fatal rear-end accident. Typically, a lawsuit with these allegations would be filed against the trucking company. To understand why, you must understand that all trucks with a clearance of a certain height are required by law to have an underride guard that prevents a smaller vehicle like a Tesla from getting jammed beneath the truck. When this happens, it causes the impact to be borne by the windshield which caves in on the driver’s face. If the force of the impact is severe enough, the accident can result in decapitation. People do not generally survive these accidents and when they do, their lives are forever changed. So, a $100 piece of safety equipment saves countless lives each year.

Most commercial trucks do have underride guards. You can see them every time you’re driving behind a big rig. In cases where the underride guard fails, the trucking company is generally liable because a mandatory piece of safety equipment failed the required safety inspections without the company noticing.

Why is Tesla liable? 

Well, we don’t know that they are liable quite yet. According to the allegations, however, the autopilot malfunctioned and prevented the driver from braking in time and this resulted in the rear-end collision.

Rear-end collisions, as you may know, are almost always the fault of the driver who does the rear-ending. It is assumed that had they been paying attention to the road, they would have been able to stop in time. However, there are cases in which a stopped truck could be held liable for a mechanical failure that caused them to pull over in a dangerous location. Another, much less frequently seen argument involves new technology, like AI-guided vehicles, malfunctioning.

We have no idea what the quality of these allegations are. However, the plaintiffs will be allowed to pursue the claim as far as it goes. This may involve using the onboard computer to establish that a malfunction occurred. If there is some bit of data that establishes that the vehicle could not break or the autopilot somehow malfunctioned preventing the car from breaking in time, then the plaintiffs could win.

One caveat, however, is that if the driver was relying on the autopilot for navigation, there is almost no chance they can win this lawsuit. In cases where Tesla’s autopilot has been implicated in the death of another driver, the individual who was relying on the autopilot has been charged with manslaughter. Tesla makes it known that the autopilot is an advanced safety system and is not meant to navigate roads without human attention. The term “autopilot” is tricky, but the marketing appears not to impact how these cases are decided and prosecuted. At least not yet.

Talk to a Miami Traffic Accident and Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer 

Payer Law represents the interests of those who have been injured by commercial trucks and vehicles. Call our Miami personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation, and we can begin preparing your case immediately.


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn