Tesla Car Accident Attorneys in Boston
When Tesla first came on the scene and announced that it would be manufacturing self-driving cars, it caused quite a buzz.
Some people mistakenly thought that they would be able to put their feet up on the dashboard and watch a movie while their cars navigated Boston's rush hour traffic.
Since Tesla first launched its self-driving cars in 2014, we have learned that the technology is not perfect and comes with a certain level of risk. Recently, Tesla cars with the company's "Autopilot" technology have been involved in several fatal crashes.
If you or a loved one has sustained a serious injury in an accident involving a Tesla or another vehicle with an autonomous driving system, Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers can help. Our car accident attorneys are currently investigating claims involving Tesla's Autopilot system. We can help if you were hurt in a crash after your Tesla's Autopilot technology malfunctioned or if an Autopilot error caused a Tesla driver to crash into you.
Our law firm accepts cases on a contingency fee basis. You pay nothing until we win your case and recover money from Tesla or the at-fault driver, usually through their insurance companies.What Does Tesla's Autopilot System Do?
The word "autopilot" implies automatic control of a ship, plane, car, or vehicle. You might imagine someone sitting behind the wheel and the car weaving in and out of traffic and driving itself. In reality, Tesla's Autopilot requires more of a hands-on approach. In Tesla's case, "auto" does not necessarily mean autonomous or automatic.
Below, our car accident attorneys break down the different levels of autonomous systems in cars.
- Level 0: No automation
- Level 1: Basic semi-automated systems such as cruise control
- Level 2: More advanced semi-automatic systems such as steering and braking
- Level 3: Automated primary driving functions under certain conditions
- Level 4: Automated primary driving functions under most conditions
- Level 5: Automated primary driving functions under all conditions
Current Tesla models that you see on the roads around Boston are a Level 2. Generally speaking, Tesla's Autopilot allows the vehicle to "see" the cars and road around it and drive itself to a certain degree. A fully autonomous vehicle that can drive the roads itself would fall under Level 5, and a car like that does not exist yet.
All new Tesla vehicles have the company's Autopilot technology, including:
- Tesla Model S
- Tesla Model X
- Tesla Model Y
- Tesla Model 3
The technology allows the vehicles to steer, accelerate and brake with certain restrictions. Software updates allow Tesla drivers to use Autopilot enhancements as they become available, which means the company is regularly adding new driving features and capabilities.
Tesla is not the only company manufacturing cars with autonomous features. Other cars with self-driving features include:
- Cadillac CT6 and Cadillac Escalade
- Chevy Bolt
- Audi A6 and Audi A8
- BMW X5 and BMW 3 Series
- Ford Mustang
- Mercedes Benz E-Class and S-Class
- Volvo XC90, Volvo XC60 and Volvo XC40
- Nissan Rogue and Nissan Leaf
According to news reports, some Tesla drivers who have allowed Autopilot to control their vehicles have been in traffic accidents, some of which have been fatal.
In Massachusetts, for example, a Tesla slammed into the back of a state police vehicle and another vehicle while they were pulled over on the side of Route 24 in Bridgeport in August 2021. The driver reportedly told the police that the Tesla was operating in Autopilot before the collision.
A few years earlier, a Tesla driver fell asleep while his vehicle traveled on Autopilot on Route 2.
In other accident cases, Tesla drivers have been caught drunk driving or even riding in the vehicle's back seat.
Distracted driving can be dangerous under normal circumstances. However, safety experts say self-driving systems such as Tesla's Autopilot could allow drivers to think that they can focus their attention away from the road and still be safe. Unfortunately, this false sense of security can lead to deadly crashes.
These and other Tesla crashes have prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the safety of Tesla's Autopilot system. The NTSB has recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Tesla restrict Autopilot's use to areas where it can operate safely. Some versions of Autopilot allow drivers to use the system on local roads. In contrast, General Motors, Ford, and other companies that manufacture self-driving cars limit the use of their automated systems to divided highways that do not have traffic lights, stop signs, or pedestrians.
In addition, the NTSB also recommended that NHTSA require Tesla to improve its system to ensure that drivers are paying attention and not hitting the snooze button when they are behind the wheel.
Tesla's driver monitoring system uses steering wheel inputs to detect whether a driver is paying attention to the road, while other automakers use facial monitoring. So, while Tesla does have a safety system designed to keep drivers' hands on the wheel, some drivers have found a way to circumvent the system.
The NTSB has no enforcement powers, so it can only make recommendations to other federal agencies. You can read NHTSA's information on automated vehicles here.Common Causes of Tesla Car Accidents
As you motor around the greater Boston area, you probably notice more Teslas on the road. According to estimates, somewhere around 2.5 million Teslas are on the road worldwide. Unfortunately, that translates to more accidents involving these electric vehicles.
Indeed, there are many reasons why a Tesla may be involved in a car crash. While some of these causes are driver-related, others are connected to the car and its Autopilot technology.
Here is a list of some of the more common causes of Tesla car accidents:
- Drunk drivers
- Drivers who rely too much on the car's capabilities
- Drivers who have disabled or changed the car's safety systems
- Software errors
- A malfunctioning Tesla that misjudges the appropriate speed or makes an incorrect driving maneuver
- Tesla's failure to address safety problems
A Tesla accident attorney will review your accident's facts and identify all parties that played a role in the crash. This includes the negligent driver, Tesla, and even the company that developed the Autopilot software. Therefore, multiple parties may be responsible for your car accident.What Should I Do After a Crash Involving a Tesla?
After any car accident, you should file an accident report with the police. The police report is one piece of evidence that you can use to support your version of the accident. Police reports often come in handy in court or when negotiating with insurance companies.
If you are hurt in a collision with a Tesla, you can ask the police to investigate the cause of the crash and determine whether Autopilot was engaged when the accident occurred. In addition, the police can check if the driver disabled or altered any safety equipment for the self-driving vehicle.
The Tesla car accident attorneys at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers can also launch an in-house investigation to ensure all at-fault parties are held responsible. Tesla car accident cases can be complicated because of the advanced technology.
In response to pending product liability lawsuits, Tesla has denied liability and blamed the Tesla drivers for crashes. (Most of these lawsuits allege that Tesla overpromised and misrepresented what Autopilot can do.) However, our law firm works with national experts who can explain how and why your accident happened and Tesla's role in the accident. And we have the resources to take on a wealthy company like Tesla. (In case you were wondering, in 2021, Tesla became the sixth company in U.S. history to be worth $1 trillion.)
As with other car accidents, it is always a good idea to jot down what happened before, during, and after an accident so that you do not forget a crucial piece of evidence. And snap photos of the accident scene and your injuries, if possible.
To learn how our Tesla car accident attorneys can help with your injury claim, call Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers at (617) 777-7777 or fill out our electronic form.