Denver Tesla Car Accident Lawyers
Self-driving technology in vehicles may have once seemed to be the stuff of science fiction. Yet, today, many new cars actually feature advanced self-driving features – also called advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) – including the popular Tesla luxury cars. These technological advances may make operating a vehicle easier. To a degree, they may also make driving safer. However, the technology is not flawless, and Tesla drivers can still make mistakes which lead to auto accidents that injure or kill themselves and others.
Liability for accidents involving “autonomous” cars is an evolving area of the law. If you suffered injuries in an accident involving a Tesla on Autopilot or other vehicle that was operating in “self-driving” mode, you should seek help immediately from an experienced car accident lawyer at The Sawaya Law Firm. We have protected the rights of crash victims in Denver and throughout Colorado since 1977. We can advise you about your legal rights and options in a free, no-risk consultation.
Why Do Tesla Car Accidents Happen?
Technically, no Tesla is a fully autonomous vehicle. In other words, no Tesla is designed to handle every aspect of driving without a driver’s intervention. With that said, the self-driving features in Tesla vehicles are among the most advanced that you can find on the road in Denver today. According to TechCrunch, the two ADAS packages which Tesla offers consumers are:
- Autopilot – This ADAS package is now standard on Tesla vehicles. The technology uses radar, a front-facing camera and numerous sensors to collect data for features such as traffic-aware cruise control, lane steering and automatic braking.
- Full Self-Driving – Even though this package does not make a Tesla fully autonomous, it adds features such as navigation to the Autopilot package.
The goal of this technology is to provide not only convenience but to also cut down on accidents that result from human error. However, the technology can also lead to serious traffic safety issues. The technology may fail to work, or a driver may fail to correctly use the car’s self-driving features. Additionally, as the Los Angeles Times describes, drivers may become “lulled into acting like passengers” when Tesla’s Autopilot is engaged. As a result, the driver may fail to react and brake on time when the Tesla technology fails to detect an obstacle such as a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist or other motor vehicles.
Tesla accidents happen in Denver and throughout the country. For instance, in January 2018, a Tesla Model S P85 was traveling on the highway in Culver City, California, with AutoPilot engaged and the driver enjoying a bagel and coffee. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports that a fire truck was further up the highway, taking up a lane, due to an accident which had just occurred. When the car ahead of the Tesla changed lanes to avoid the fire truck, the Tesla Autopilot sensed that no other vehicle was ahead and actually sped up, plowing into the fire truck.
Who is Liable for a Tesla Autopilot Crash?
Although Tesla vehicles come equipped with Autopilot features that allow them to change lanes, steer, and brake on their own, a person must still operate the car. If a crash occurs, then liability will hinge on what went wrong and who committed the wrongdoing:
- Did the Technology Fail to Operate Properly? For instance, the Autopilot may have failed to detect an obstacle, the forward collision warning system may have not alerted the driver or the automatic emergency braking system may have failed to activate. If this technology flaw occurs, and it causes an accident, then the manufacturer of the vehicle and/or self-driving hardware or software may be liable.
- Did the Driver Make a Mistake? A driver may have failed to read through the Tesla owner’s manual thoroughly and hit the road without a full grasp of how the Autopilot technology works. As a result, the driver may have made a mistake that led to an accident. In that scenario, the driver could be held liable for the crash.
- Did Both the Technology and Driver Cause the Crash? It’s possible that, under certain circumstances, the technology and driver may both be liable. For example, the Autopilot may fail to detect a pedestrian ahead until the last second. Yet, the driver still may have had enough time to apply the brakes or take other actions that could have avoided a collision.
You should work with a law firm that will thoroughly investigate your case and work hard to find out why your Tesla crash happened. Whether the technology, driver or both contributed to the accident will be a crucial issue to address. It will determine who you file the claim against, the legal theories you raise, the types of available insurance and, ultimately, the amount of time that you will have to file a Tesla car accident lawsuit.
Due to the technology involved, Tesla car accidents can be complex. However, the technology can also provide a great amount of data and other evidence. Your lawyer should know how to gather and analyze this information in order to establish your right to just compensation.
Contact Our Denver Tesla Car Accident Attorneys Today
If you were injured in a collision in which a Tesla’s Autopilot was engaged, you could be entitled to compensation that includes:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Diminishment of your ability to earn income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages (in exceptional cases).
The Sawaya Law Firm is ready to put its experience and resources to work for you. We can determine why your Tesla crash occurred and how the crash has affected your life physically, emotionally and financially. Our Denver Tesla car accident lawyers will be committed to pursuing a settlement or verdict that fully and fairly compensates you for all harm which you have suffered, whether it be a personal injury claim or the wrongful death of a loved one.
To learn more about the ins and outs of filing a claim against Tesla, its partners, or someone who was operating a self-driving vehicle at the time of your accident, contact us today. Our initial consultations are always free.