Earlier this month, in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, a California jury found that Tesla’s autopilot did not cause a crash that injured a Los Angeles woman. Tesla is facing a number of lawsuits related to its advanced driver assistance systems involving dozens of injuries and at least 19 deaths. While this jury verdict does not affect those lawsuits, it is still a big win for Tesla and may indicate how future cases might be decided.
The Lawsuit and the Verdict
The woman sued after claiming her 2016 Model S’s autopilot feature malfunctioned and caused the vehicle to crash. The woman suffered a broken jaw, lost several teeth, and underwent several surgeries. She sought $3 million in damages from Tesla. Tesla argued the woman disregarded clear instructions in the user manual not to use autopilot on city streets and the jury sided with Tesla.
Overselling the Capabilities of AutoPilot
Tesla has been accused of overselling the capabilities of its autopilot features and a federal class action lawsuit filed in San Francisco claims the company made “false and misleading statements” about the risk of serious injury and death associated with overreliance on full self-driving technology. Names like Autopilot and Full Self Driving may be misleading and may encourage a false sense of security. However, at least one jury has now found that drivers should not be lulled into a false sense of security behind the wheel. And always follow the instructions.
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