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Tesla can’t escape a trial claiming Model S crash leading to a death
A teenager in Florida crashed into a well at 116 miles per hour in 2018

Elon Musk’s Tesla can’t escape a trail that claims that the automaker is responsible for a Model S crash in 2018. The crash killed a teenager in Florida as it was going at 116 miles an hour. This is the first time Tesla will face a jury over a car crash as the federal judge’s ruling paves the way for a trial.

Tesla Autopilot System Found Probably at Fault in 2018 Crash

Image credits- The New York Times

The teenager who was in the crash was an 18-year-old driving his father’s Model S, Barrett Riley. He lost control and turned to a concrete wall of a house in Fort Lauderdale. The father, James Riley filed the lawsuit, saying that Tesla’s negligence in removing the speed limiting device from the car led to the accident. After his wife had asked for it to be installed and yet it wasn’t installed. The after-market device was designed to limit the car’s speed to 85 mph.

Furthermore, the family urged that Barrett could have survived the crash if the vehicle didn’t catch fire. Adding to the speed limit the lawsuit also alleges that the battery design is defective. Curtis Miner, an attorney representing the Rileys said, “We very much look forward to proceeding to trial in this important case against Tesla.”  Tesla’s attorney Wendy Lumish declined to comment.

Tesla’s argument

Meanwhile, Tesla says that the company removed the speed limiter based on Barrett Riley’s instructions as he came to get his car serviced back then. Also, Tesla argued that fires are not that common when cars crash. Further to this, they added that there is no proof that the defect was the reason for the car catching fire.

Tesla requested to dismiss the case without sending it to trial. However, US Magistrate Judge Alicia Valle denied the request. According to Valle, the speed limiter being removed without consent or notice might have played a role in the accident. Also, the judge said that the Rileys can seek punitive damages on the claim stating the automaker was negligent. A jury will have to determine whether the vehicle’s battery was defective based on a finding by an expert retained by the Rileys that the design lacked certain fire-retardant materials, the judge said. The Rileys dropped their request to seek punitive damages over the alleged defect.

The US National Transportation Safety Board concluded in 2019 after investigating the crash that Barrett Riley and his front-seat passenger died as a result of the fire. A passenger in the rear, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the car and survived with multiple fractures.

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