Jury rules driver to blame for fatal Tesla crash in Florida

A jury found Tesla negligent for a crash involving a 2014 Model S but assigned 99 per cent of the blame on the teenage driver and his father.

The 2018 crash saw two Fort Lauderdale teens killed and a third injured when a Tesla Model S driven by Barrett Riley crashed into a wall at 116 mph.

After the initial impact, the 2014 Model S caught on fire.

Riley’s family sued Tesla in 2019 accusing the company of several things:

  • The Tesla Model S had a defective battery pack that led to the fire.
  • Tesla failed to warn purchasers of its vehicles of the battery’s dangerous conditions.
  • Tesla removed the speed limiter at the request of Riley after his parents installed it two months before.

Although it took three years, a jury in Florida has finally delivered its verdict.

The jury awarded the family $10.5 million but could only put 1% of the liability on Tesla.

As per Law360:

The jury found Tesla negligent for a crash in a 2014 Model S that killed two Florida teens and awarded the family $10.5M. However, that payout is the result of only 1% liability and the bulk of blame was assigned to the teenaged operator and his father.

Tesla, for its case, added a new speed-limiting feature dedicated to Riley at the time. The feature allows any Tesla owner to input a speed limiter on their vehicle instead of requiring owners to go to a Tesla service center.

Neither Tesla nor the Riley’s provided a comment on the verdict.

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