Is Tesla Liable for Autopilot Vehicle Accidents?
Tesla and other self-driving vehicle incidents have been in the news a lot lately. In fact, one of the most recent and alarming incidents was when a person’s Tesla steering wheel fell off while the car was in motion.
When it comes to self-driving vehicles, there have been about 400 accidents in the United States from July 2021 to May 2022. Tesla accounted for 273 of these accidents. This shows that Tesla and other self-driving vehicles are not only failing to meet the expectations of their customers, but are also raising concerns about the safety of Autopilot.
What is Autopilot?
According to Tesla’s website, Autopilot is a feature “designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving.” However, when some people hear that their vehicle has “autopilot,” they think that they can get behind the wheel, relax, and not think about driving at all. The reason for this is because Tesla has misled its customers into believing that they do not need to pay attention to the roads or direct their vehicles. This is a huge mistake because Autopilot does not mean you can be as “hands off” as you might think, and this type of marketing has contributed to hundreds of fatal car accidents that could have been prevented.
Who is liable when an Autopilot accident occurs in Oklahoma City?
Automobile manufacturers have a responsibility to design, create, and manufacture cars that are safe for their customers. As a matter of fact, the definition of motor vehicle safety provided by the United States Code (Chapter 301 Title 49) is “the performance a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle.” Therefore, motor vehicle manufacturers are expected to design and manufacture cars that prevent the unreasonable risk of death or injuries in an accident. If they fail to do this, they are considered liable.
When an Autopilot car accident occurs, one of the first things that an Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer will look at is the car’s equipment or parts to see if there were any defects. This includes the technology of the vehicle. If the investigation shows that the manufacturing or design was unreasonably safe in any way, the company will most likely be liable for the losses that occurred from the accident.
Your attorney will also investigate the Autopilot technology manufacturer to determine if they were a contributor to the accident. For example, if the software was defective, the software manufacturer will be held liable.
How our Oklahoma City car accident attorneys will help
The Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers of Cunningham & Mears are experienced and skilled when it comes to any type of motor vehicle accident, including those with Autopilot and self-driving technologies. If you choose to work with our team, we will remain by your side through the entire legal process, help you navigate every challenge or hurdle, and ensure that your story is told. The following are a few important steps that we will take when it comes to your case:
- We will review your self-driving or Autopilot accident claim thoroughly and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
- We will investigate the accident and determine who is responsible.
- We will help you file a lawsuit against the responsible parties.
- We will collect all evidence needed to build a strong case against the responsible parties.
- We will work with other experts and professionals to determine losses and damages.
- We will handle all forms of communication with insurance companies and the defendant’s attorney.
What types of claims can be made against Tesla?
Depending on the cause and circumstances of your accident, there are a few different claims that may be made against Tesla. A personal injury attorney from our firm will help you determine which type of claim fits your case. The following are a few options that we may consider:
- Negligence: Since Tesla has a responsibility to design, manufacture, and sell vehicles that are safe, they may be found negligent if a vehicle causes accidents or injuries. If they knew about any defects or safety issues, this is considered negligence as well.
- Strict Liability: If the vehicle is considered to be defective and causing danger to the driver or others, you may be able to claim strict liability.
- Product Liability: If there is a part of the vehicle that is defective and caused your accident, you may be able to claim product liability. This means that the rest of the vehicle was considered safe, but there were parts of the vehicle that did not meet the vehicle safety guidelines, which led to your accident.
Finding an attorney who has experience helping other clients with Tesla accidents is very important because you want to ensure that they know and understand the issues surrounding these types of cases. At Cunningham & Mears, we have helped many clients successfully resolve their claims, and we will be glad to help you as well. By choosing our attorneys, you can rest assured knowing that you are in good hands and will receive the best legal advice on what you should do.
If you are ready to begin discussing your accident and injuries, call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a meeting with one of our Oklahoma city car accident lawyers who will listen to your experience, answer any questions, and will explain your rights and compensation. We look forward to meeting with you soon!
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More