On December 30, California resident Ji Chang Son filed a lawsuit against electric car maker Tesla for unintended acceleration in their Model X vehicle after his car allegedly accelerated as he was pulling into his garage, crashing into his home. The lawsuit says that Tesla's Model X has a defect which causes Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA) events 20 times more frequently than other car brands, at a rate of 64 events per 100,000 vehicles.
The accident occurred in September of 2016, one month after Son had received his Tesla Model X. Son was turning into his driveway and slowing to park the car when, according to the lawsuit, “The vehicle spontaneously began to accelerate at full power, jerking forward and crashing through the interior wall of the garage, destroying several wooden support beams in the wall and a steel sewer pipe, among other things, and coming to rest in Plaintiffs' living room."
There have been 8 official reports to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration which claim similar unintended acceleration events in the Model X. Tesla has responded by saying that in every case, the vehicle diagnostics showed that the driver was pushing the acceleration pedal. In Son's case, they say that the data they collected from the vehicle “conclusively shows that the crash was the result of Mr. Son pressing the accelerator pedal all the way to 100 percent.”
Son's lawsuit alleges that there is a particular defect with the Automatic Braking System, which he says should prevent the vehicle from slamming into walls. He also alleges that Tesla has known about the problem but failed to reprogram the technology or inform potential customers about the potential dangers of the vehicles.
Tesla acknowledged that the braking system is programmed to deactivate in certain conditions when the car is traveling at fewer than 8 miles per hour and the driver may be making emergency maneuvers, like sharp turns, quick acceleration, or rapid depression and release of the brake pedal.
Tesla came under fire last May for their Autopilot mode. The self-driving mode was initially praised for its potential to save lives by automatically avoiding collisions, and there have been instances of Autopilot helping a driver to avoid crashes; however, in May a Tesla Model S with Autopilot mode engaged crashed into a tractor trailer, killing the driver. Some people believe the technology should be further developed and tested before it can be reliably implemented in everyday vehicles.
Although Tesla denies the claims of unintended vehicle acceleration, this would not be the first automaker which was sued for SUA events. Most recently, in 2009, Southern California lawyers filed a class action lawsuit against Toyota for similar reasons, stating defects which caused unintended acceleration. The lawsuit resulted in a massive $1.2 billion fine to the US government and an additional settlement of claims which was valued at up to $1.6 billion.
If you have experienced the financial burden of defective products, or been injured by a product malfunction, you may be entitled to compensation. Attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian will explore every option to recover for you. For a free case evaluation, call 800-529-6162 today or contact them online. They handle cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.