Family files wrongful death lawsuit against Tesla over fatal Florida crash

Tesla has been named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in a federal court in Florida by the family of Mary Lou and Karl Seelandt. The California couple died while driving their Tesla Model S through a Florida rest stop in July 2022.

According to a report by The Mercury News, the plaintiffs claim the car malfunctioned while being driven “as intended and designed.” The suit alleges that the car was defective, but does not specify what malfunctioned. However, the suit states the car was equipped with “crash avoidance and crash mitigation features.”

The accident occurred on a highway exit that split into two lanes entering a rest area. The Model S ended up in the lane for larger vehicles and collided with the back of a tractor trailer.

The crash garnered much media attention over the possibility of Tesla’s driver-assist software being involved. However a subsequent investigation found the cause to be human error, according to details of the investigation announced by the Florida Highway Patrol last month.

Data from the car showed the driver hit the accelerator rather than the brake. The Model S then entered the rest stop, going 60 mph, hitting a curb and then the trailer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had previously announced it was also investigating the incident, but the agency has not issued a comment since the results of the Florida Highway Patrol investigation were announced.

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