Maximizing Compensation for Injuries Caused by “Autopilot” in Tesla Vehicle Accidents
While self-driving vehicles used to be limited to science fiction, vehicles that can operate without the input of a human driver already are causing accidents resulting in serious injuries and fatalities. Passengers throughout the U.S. who suffer injury because of defects in the Tesla autopilot system are filing lawsuits seeking financial compensation.
Parker Waichman LLP has clients who feel upset and angry because faulty Tesla autopilot systems have disrupted their lives. Our attorneys felt the actions of Tesla were egregious because they continued to put these vehicles on the road despite harm to vehicle occupants from an autopilot system alleged to be defective. Our clients have found comfort and success when seeking representation from Tesla autopilot accident attorneys to pursue financial compensation.
Do I Have a Lawsuit?
Many people ask us if they have a legal basis to pursue a lawsuit. Our attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP can evaluate your situation and advise you of your legal rights. Generally, you might have the right to pursue a lawsuit against Tesla and entities involved in the design and manufacture of the technology associated with the autonomous driving system if your accident results from malfunctions or defects.
The process of filing a lawsuit for your injuries and other losses begins with obtaining medical care immediately following your accident. Ignoring the recommendations of emergency responders to take an ambulance or to seek medical attention immediately can compromise your prognosis and prevent the performance of prompt diagnostic evaluations. Insurance companies often use delays in seeking medical care to contend a car accident victim’s injuries are fake or exaggerated. Either you or someone with you should also get witness contact information and take pictures of your injuries, any vehicle damage, skid marks or absence of skid marks, and other relevant aspects of the crash scene.
While you do not have to retain an attorney, insurance companies salivate at the prospect of having their extensive team of insurance defense lawyers, insurance adjusters, experts, investigators, and others take on an unrepresented party. Whether negotiating a settlement or pursuing litigation, civil claims present many complications and traps for the unwary. Experienced personal injury attorneys can guide you through the legal minefield while also handling the unique challenges involved in these sophisticated motor vehicle cases. We also can analyze the many factors that impact the value of your case like the nature of your injuries, partial or total permanent disability, medical expenses, diminished quality of life, and other issues so that your insurance company does not lowball you into an unfair settlement.
While you might have concerns about the cost of a claim, our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys typically advance the costs of litigation and handle these cases on a contingency basis. This means that our law firm takes the financial risk while providing you with exemplary legal representation. We advance the costs of expert witnesses, depositions and other expenses, and we only recover attorney fees if we obtain a recovery.
How Does the Tesla Autopilot System Work?
The system employs sensors that allow the vehicle to have a 360-degree view around the exterior of the car up to a distance of 250 meters based on information from the Tesla website. The vehicle relies on camera footage, radar, and sonar. The vehicle can use this information to change lanes, maintain its position within a lane, self-park, and track the speed of traffic. While Tesla has contended that buyers have been informed that the technology has not been perfected and that drivers need to remain ready with their hands on the wheel, the wisdom of releasing a feature that might cause motorists to crash raises serious concerns.
Why Are Tesla Owners Filing Lawsuits?
Lawsuits filed across the U.S. by Tesla owners claim the vehicles “autopilot” system uses faulty software for essential safety features. Owners have alleged in lawsuits that when they turn on the autopilot system their vehicle slams on the brakes for no reason, swerves into adjacent lanes, and lurches forward. Plaintiffs in pending lawsuits also contend that side collision warning systems and the automatic braking system do not function despite purchasers paying a $5,000 premium for the autopilot enhancement. While Tesla has claimed the problems would be addressed with software updates, attempts to correct the issues have been inadequate or non-existent according to pending lawsuits. Ironically, Tesla faces a separate but related class action because of its failure to provide software updates to make the autopilot system safe and usable by consumers.
In a related group of lawsuits, the plaintiffs, who include 22 crash victims, have alleged unintended acceleration by Tesla vehicles caused their accidents. These plaintiffs have suggested that the pricey Tesla vehicles should have been equipped with a fail-safe that would allow the vehicles to be turned off to prevent collisions. Seriously injured passengers and families of vehicle occupants that die in crashes involving failures of the Tesla autopilot system have been filed throughout the U.S.
Has Tesla’s Autopilot Feature Been Linked to Passenger Fatalities?
In May 2016, a Tesla crashed and killed a passenger inside the vehicle in Mountain View, California when the Tesla Model X slammed into a highway median barrier when in autopilot mode. Because the sensors and cameras that make up the autopilot systems were not functioning properly, the autopilot drove the vehicle occupant into the cement obstruction. Ironically, the vehicle owner had made several prior complaints to Tesla because the vehicle’s autopilot had steered toward the center barrier at this location on prior occasions.
Another fatal accident involving the Tesla autopilot system occurred in Florida when a Model X crashed into a semi-truck on a highway despite the autopilot being engaged. Tesla indicated that the autopilot failed to distinguish between the white side of the large truck and the sky. The plaintiff suffered fatal injuries when his Tesla drove under the big-rig.
The number of serious injury and fatality reports will continue to rise as occupants of the Tesla S, and Tesla X continue to rely on autopilot, which even the company has admitted still has bugs that endanger consumer safety.
Do You Have Legal Basis to File a Lawsuit Involving a Faulty Tesla Autopilot?
Negligence by the other driver might still constitute grounds for a lawsuit in a Tesla crash. However, these collisions might also merit a product liability claim against Tesla as well as the hardware and software companies that designed and manufactured the autopilot components and system. While the negligence of manufacturers and designers of this technology and Tesla vehicles can be a basis of liability, companies that design, manufacture, or sell defective products can be strictly liable depending on the circumstances.
While the value of your lawsuit will be affected to a substantial degree by the type, permanence, and severity of your injuries, many other factors will be relevant, so you should seek a case evaluation. Our experienced Tesla autopilot accident attorneys have handled thousands of vehicle accident cases, so we often can provide a tentative range for the value of your case.
While multiple steps are involved in pursuing a lawsuit for this type of car accident, an important step is to speak to a Tesla accident injury attorney who has a proven record handling complex motor vehicle accident cases. Since these cases will involve disputes about flaws in the autopiloting equipment and software, the evidence will likely involve complex engineering and programming questions that require expert testimony. Our law firm works with highly acclaimed experts who can help identify what went wrong and the basis of each defendant’s liability.
Why Do Tesla Injury and Fatality Victims Choose Parker Waichman LLP?
Parker Waichman LLP provides the advantage of a large national law firm with extensive litigation resources and attorneys that collectively have hundreds of years of collective experience. Our unique strengths have been acknowledged with honors and awards that include:
- Highest “AV Preeminent” Rating by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review
- Membership in Billion Dollar Trial Lawyers ™
- Recognized for Obtaining a Top Verdict in New York (2017)
- Listed Among U.S. News & World Report Best Lawyers/Best Law Firms
Tesla has settled a class action lawsuit with owners of the Model S and Model X cars that alleged that the autopilot feature that cost an additional $5,000 was “essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous.” However, lawsuits related to injuries and fatalities remain in pending status throughout the U.S. The terms of settlements including a wrongful death lawsuit have been confidential.
Our law firm has successfully recovered over $2 billion for personal injury and wrongful death victims across the U.S. Our national reputation puts insurance companies on notice that we have the skill, expertise, and experience to take your case to trial if the insurer does not agree to a favorable settlement.
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Your Time for Filing a Lawsuit Is Limited
The law imposes strict deadlines that include the statute of limitations. If you do not commence your lawsuit before this time limit expires, your claim typically will be permanently barred. Because law firms might be hesitant to take a lawsuit close to this deadline, you should seek legal advice promptly.
When taking on auto manufacturers and the companies behind their autopilot software, you need a law firm with extensive experience and litigation resources. Our attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP believe that Tesla should have known that drivers would rely on technology labeled as an “autopilot” system, but they elected to release this not ready for primetime technology despite knowing it was unsafe. The company also received an extra $5,000 per vehicle from purchasers of this dangerous feature. Call us today so we can start pursuing justice and the fullest recovery.
Our Tesla accident injury lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP strive to provide the highest quality legal representation while giving our clients the personalized attention injury victims and their families deserve. Remember time is limit so call us to talk to an attorney today.
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