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Sacramento Tesla Accident Lawyer


A partner at a prestigious Silicon Valley investment firm predicts that driverless cars will overtake the roads within the next decade, according to Business Insider. If this prediction holds true, an important issue that will need to be addressed is a liability when a collision occurs. Is the occupant of the driverless vehicle responsible, or will the manufacturer be the liable party? As it stands today, it could be both.

One of the companies pioneering driverless vehicle technology is Tesla. They have a new fleet of vehicles featuring “Autopilot mode,” which allows the vehicle to drive itself. However, there are some important caveats for this Autopilot mode. Most importantly, Tesla’s are not completely autonomous self-driving vehicles. In fact, Tesla tells customers that they must stay vigilant and attentive while in Autopilot mode and to only use this technology on certain types of roadways.

Tesla also recommends keeping your hands on the wheel and being prepared to take over if the technology malfunctions. This means the driver retains a duty of care to safely operate the vehicle, even in Autopilot mode.

Careless Tesla Drivers

There are videos on YouTube showing drivers reading the newspaper, watching a movie, or even sitting in the back seat while a Tesla is operating on a busy road or highway. This is extremely careless and reckless behavior. If you or a loved one is seriously injured in a collision with a Tesla, there may be grounds to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the driver and their auto insurance policy.

The video below shows how drivers and occupants relax in a self-driven vehicle.

Defective Technology?

In addition to potentially holding the driver responsible for your harms and losses, there may be a basis for a claim against Tesla. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating whether Tesla’s Autopilot technology has a defect after a deadly accident involving a Tesla occurred due to the vehicle not noticing the white side of a commercial tractor-trailer on a sunny day.

This is truly disturbing since there are over 70,000 Tesla vehicles on busy roads and highways today. This is all before state, and federal regulators have had a chance to examine how “driverless” technology works and whether it is safe.

Defective Tesla Autopilot Federal Lawsuit

A complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, by three Tesla owners claiming the company knowingly sold vehicles with “Enhanced Autopilot” technology that cannot be used and lacked standard safety features, according to Forbes. The lawsuit alleges that Autopilot-enabled Tesla vehicles can veer off the road and experience significant problems.

Tesla issued a press release slamming the lawsuit as an attempt to secure attorney’s fees (not surprising; this is what most big corporations do when legal action is pursued on behalf of injured consumers). What is more telling is that Tesla recalled over 50,000 Model S and Model X vehicles within 24 hours of the lawsuit. The company discovered a “potential manufacturing issue” with the electric parking brakes that could prevent the parking brake from releasing properly.

Financial Restitution for Your Losses from a Tesla Accident

As you can see, there are grounds to pursue financial restitution for your harms and losses if you are hit by a Tesla, or you were an occupant in a Tesla. You should speak to an experienced Sacramento personal injury lawyer right away to discuss your legal options. If you decide to move forward with a claim, two types of monetary damages can typically be recovered from the careless party or parties – economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include the following:

  • Medical bills (both incurred and future medical expenses)
  • Lost income due to time missed from work (including future lost wages if you cannot return to your previous position due to your injuries).

Noneconomic damages constitute pain and suffering damages. They are those harms and losses that do not fit easily onto an invoice. Instead, they are those harms and losses like not being able to play in the yard with your kids, not being able to help your spouse with household chores, missing out on important family events, etc.

Do Not Delay – Time Limit for Filing a Tesla Accident Injury Claim

Like every other state, California places limits on the amount of time an injured party (or the survivor of a decedent in a death case) has to file a claim in court against the responsible party. This is known as the statute of limitations. Under California law, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of your injury, according to California Code of Civil Procedure 335.1. This means that if you fail to file a lawsuit within two years, a California court will likely bar your case from going forward, and you will probably lose your right to pursue financial restitution from the at-fault party.

For a wrongful death lawsuit, the statute of limitations is the same as a personal injury claim. You need to bring a wrongful death claim within two years from the date of your loved one’s death.

Taking legal action against a big corporation like Tesla can be daunting. Like most other major auto manufacturers, Tesla has teams of defense lawyers who work day and night to discredit and deny personal injury and wrongful death claims. This is why you need to level the playing field with an experienced Sacramento personal injury lawyer. We are here to help you and your family. We have the litigation experience to get the compensation you deserve.

Sacramento Tesla Accident Lawyer 

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a Tesla crash, please call us promptly at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400 for free, friendly, and no-obligation advice.

Proud members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 3.23.21]

Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels

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