Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuits Focus on Alleged Tesla Design Flaws

Motor vehicle manufacturing and design defects can’t be overlooked as possible catalysts in fatal or injurious Florida car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there were 30 million vehicles recalled last year, down just slightly from the 29 million the year before, though a significant drop from the record-high 50 million recalled in 2016. A quarter of the cars recalled haven’t been repaired, and these figures don’t include the vehicles with defects not yet identified/admitted by manufacturers.Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers

Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers can explain that when a vehicle defect or defective vehicle part plays a role in a crash or exacerbation of injuries, product liability claims may be filed against the auto maker.

Tesla is among the latest to come under intense scrutiny after a number of serious injuries and fatalities resulting from a range of alleged defects that plaintiffs in numerous injury and wrongful death lawsuits say rendered their electric cars unreasonably dangerous.

Defects in Batteries, Door Handles and Autopilot Feature Alleged

A recently-filed Broward County wrongful death lawsuit alleges a 48-year-old anesthesiologist and father-of-five was killed in a Davie crash after he lost control and crashed into a palm tree. He suffered no broken bones from the crash, but when the vehicle battery burst into flames, he was trapped. First responders were on scene and ready to help, but were reportedly unable to gain access because the Model S retractable door handles malfunctioned, rendering them inaccessible. This, wrongful death attorneys say, resulted in an unreasonably dangerous fire risk.

Tesla advertises its cars as “the safest on the road,” but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently investigating possible battery defects in the company’s vans and SUVs in Model S and Model X vehicles made between 2012 and 2019 that that may cause some to spontaneously burst into flames.

In addition to reportedly inaccessible doors and spontaneous combustion risk, Tesla has also come under fire for its Autopilot feature. In August, a wrongful death lawsuit alleged a 50-year-old man who died in a Palm Beach County car accident while operating a Model 3 while the Autopilot feature was engaged. Neither the system nor the driver stopped the vehicle from impact. The company markets the feature as allowing for “full self-driving capability,” but then conversely warns drivers to pay attention and keep their hands on the wheel. Two other wrongful death lawsuits stemming from fatal crashes last year – one on the Florida Turnpike and another in Fort Lauderdale – make similar complaints.

This summer, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a study concluding the names that vehicle manufacturers use for these automated systems (particularly “autopilot”) send a misleading message to drivers, no matter what the fine print.

Proving Vehicle Defect in a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawsuit

In Florida product liability lawsuits against vehicle manufacturers, cars or their components can be deemed “defective” either by design, manufacture or marketing. A defective design indicates it was flawed and unreasonably dangerous because of the way the company designed it. Defective manufacturing means something went wrong in the manufacturing or shipping process that rendered the vehicle unsafe, even if the design itself didn’t pose any hazards. Defective marketing occurs when an automaker knows about a certain defect (or should know about it) but fails to give consumer warnings or properly label with sufficient instruction.

Common vehicle defects that can be a factor in car accidents include faulty:

  • Wiring
  • Airbags
  • Tires
  • Fuel systems
  • Computers
  • Seat belts

These cases tend to be quite complex and often difficult to prove. It’s imperative to hire an injury law firm with both the resources, experience and track record to help pursue your injury or wrongful death case.

Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:

Tesla sued for ‘defective’ Autopilot in wrongful death suit of Florida driver who crashed into tractor trailer, Aug. 1, 2019, By Soo Youn, ABC News

Man fatally burned in fiery Tesla crash after door wouldn’t open, lawsuit alleges, Oct. 24, 2019, By Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News

More Blog Entries:

Why Those Injured in Car Accidents are Required to Repay Health and Auto Insurers, Oct. 12, 2019, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyers Blog

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