Tesla Sued in California, Lawsuit Alleges Autopilot Responsible for Fatality

Following recent criticisms against Tesla for a string of accidents and fires, the California-based company is now being sued after a fatal accident.

One family in California is suing Tesla, alleging that Autopilot was responsible for their 15-year-old son being killed in an accident with a Tesla Model 3, according to the Tri-City Herald.

The lawsuit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court by Benjamin Maldonado Escudero and his wife, Adriana Garcia Maldonado, and lists the Model 3 driver Romeo Lagman Yalung and his wife, Vilma Yalung as defendants on the case.

According to the lawsuit, Maldonado Escudero was driving on I-880 in the Bay Area, California on August 24, 2019 with his son Jovani Maldonado Garcia, and was rear-ended by Yalung’s Tesla Model 3 while trying to change lanes. Upon being rear-ended, Maldonado Escudero’s car flipped over and crashed into the freeway barrier, fatally ejecting Jovani, while also injuring Maldonado Escudero’s spine.

The Tesla Model 3 reportedly was driving 69 mph in a 65-mph area, and accelerated up to 70 mph within two seconds prior to the collision. The lawsuit claims that the Model 3 has “defects which posed an unreasonable risk of injury or death to consumers,” citing Autopilot as the cause of the crash.

In a statement to the Escudero family’s attorney, Tesla attorney Ryan McCarthy said, “The police faulted the Tesla driver — not the car — for his inattention and his driving at an unsafe speed.”

In Tesla’s quarterly safety reports, however, the company uses data to support the claim that Tesla cars with Autopilot engaged are almost 10 times less likely to get in an accident than average cars.