Surprisingly, luxury automaker Tesla is being sued over a deadly crash that occurred in early 2018. The family of Walter Huang, who died in a tragic accident when his Model X hit a central concrete median, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The suit claims that Tesla’s autopilot feature was to blame for Huang’s death, not his own inattentiveness at the wheel.
Tesla Being Sued over Autopilot
Huang was 38 when he passed away on March 23, 2018. He was driving in Mountain View, California, deep in Silicone Valley, when his autopilot misread the lane and didn’t brake before striking the concrete median. According to the complaint, not only did Huang’s vehicle not brake, it accelerated into the barrier.
Mark Fong, a partner at a firm that is representing Huang’s family, released a statement. He stated that Tesla is “beta testing its Autopilot software on live drivers,” and that “The Huang family wants to help prevent this tragedy from happening to other drivers using Tesla vehicles or any semi-autonomous vehicles”.
The lawsuit alleges that Tesla holds liability for Huang’s death due to a defective product design. The suit also alleges that Tesla failed to warn drivers enough about the autopilot system’s limitations, and that they intentionally misrepresented the system and advertised it falsely.
The complaint does not specify the amount of damages the plaintiffs are seeking. However, it does name the State of California as a defendant for not replacing the guardrail that should have surrounded the median that Huang hit. Presumably, that guardrail would have greatly reduced the impact of the crash.
As of yet, Tesla has made no formal response to the complaint. Likewise, the State of California has made no statement regarding the suit. It is worth noting that when news of Huang’s death was made public, Tesla stated that “safety is at the core of everything we do and every decision we make, so the loss of a life in an accident involving a Tesla vehicle is difficult for all of us.”
At the time of that news breaking, Tesla expressed deep sadness over the crash. However, official reports stated that, despite Tesla warning drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and remain attentive while using autopilot, “the vehicle did not detect the driver’s hands on the steering wheel in the six seconds before the crash.”