Technology has significantly changed how people in California and across the country live their lives. While advances may seem life-changing and create a desire for manufacturers to get products into the hands of consumers immediately, failure to properly test products for safety can unfortunately have serious, sometimes fatal, consequences. In fact, Tesla is now facing a wrongful death lawsuit after the family members of a deceased man claim that the company is beta testing its autopilot technology on live drivers.
The incident that led to the lawsuit happened on a day in March 2018. According to reports, a 38-year-old man was driving his Tesla to work on autopilot when the system allegedly steered the vehicle left, directly into a concrete highway median. The man’s wife claims that he had complained about the vehicle steering toward the same barrier several times in the weeks before the accident, but the dealership could not find a problem when the couple took it in to be checked. Instead, they advised the man to continue driving the vehicle. Following the collision, the vehicle’s battery caught fire.
The man was transported to the hospital where he died as a result of his injuries. He leaves behind two children in addition to his wife. The family is also suing CalTrans, arguing that a drunk driver who crashed into the barrier before the man’s death walked away with minor injuries. The lawsuit claims that CalTrans failed to repair the barrier until after the fatal accident.
The unexpected death of a family member is never easy news. Unfortunately, complications related to financial obligations can quickly create an overwhelming burden for surviving family members. If it is believed that another’s negligence — including that of a government or business — resulted in the loss, families in California and across the country have the option of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. While a successfully presented lawsuit could potentially help reduce the financial burden, it can also ensure that action is taken to prevent similar tragedies in the future.