Autopilot Car Accident Deaths

Although the automatic driving technology that Tesla Motors marketed so aggressively is exciting and intriguing, the recent Tesla autopilot severe and fatal crashes raise some crucial legal concerns. The manner in which Tesla Motors marketed that technology may have been confusing for consumers, therefore posing a risk for severe personal injury or death. Perhaps, the name “autopilot” alone provided drivers with a false sense of security. Additionally, the expectations for the driver operating a vehicle with an autopilot feature were not thoroughly outlined.

Tesla Motors Litigation   

As they should, Tesla Motors is now facing serious legal ramifications due to the failure in the autopilot technology. These types of claims would fall under the category of product liability litigation, since the cause of the car accident was allegedly a defect in the design of the consumer product or a consumer product that was distributed without adequate warnings. Another crucial and potentially fascinating query that should be posed is: When should the motorist be held liable?

When Should the Motorist Be Held Liable?

As autopilot technology becomes more mainstream, this question will be vital for insurance companies, product manufacturers, and legislators to consider. Tesla says that their technology still requires the drivers that use it to maintain control of their vehicle at all times and not depend on the autopilot feature to save their lives or prevent severe personal injury and death. If this is the case, when a car that is equipped with an autopilot system ends up in a collision, should the driver of the vehicle be held completely responsible?

Tesla Motors is trying to put all of the liability on the driver. The name itself, “autopilot,” suggests that the vehicle would, indeed, perform completely on its own. Think about “cruise control” and “anti-lock brakes.” However, Tesla argues that they have made it clear – in tiny writing – that their autopilot system is merely an “assist feature” and that drivers should maintain control of their vehicle while using it.   

Time Will Only Tell

This is one of those questions that will eventually be decided by regulators and legislators as the technology becomes more popular and widely used. Fortunately, with these cases already in the process of being litigated, there should be more definitive answers to questions like this. Hopefully, no one else has to suffer severe personal injury or die before the answers are revealed to the general public.  

At Owens Law Office, PC, in Oklahoma City, we are here to help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you have suffered severe personal injury due to a car accident or a defective product. To schedule a consultation, contact us online or call (405) 608-0708.


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