Tesla is a trendsetter. Its designs are unique and modern. They’re often ahead of their times. This helps Tesla to sell a lot of cars. It’s also caused some legal trouble. Many Tesla owners have sued the company, claiming that their cars had defects that caused serious damage.
Following a recent car accident, Mena Massoud, star of Alladin, filed a lawsuit of his own against the vehicle manufacturer. He claims that he crashed into a tree because his Tesla’s steering wheel “suddenly crumbled and flew off” when he was changing lanes. The lawsuit accuses the company of negligently designing or manufacturing the car.
Car Manufacturers and Strict Products Liability
We trust that the products we use will be safe. This certainly includes the cars we rely on to keep our families safe. Car manufacturers are primarily responsible for putting safe vehicles on the road. California’s product liability laws help to ensure that manufacturers take this responsibility seriously. When a product is defective, injured consumers can use those product liability laws to their advantage.
Companies like Tesla can be held strictly liable for harm caused by defects in their vehicles. Strict liability means that Tesla didn’t necessarily have to know about the defect. It means that it doesn’t matter how careful Tesla was when designing or manufacturing its vehicles. If there’s a defect, the company is on the hook for any harm it causes. This makes it easier for injured car owners to recover the compensation they deserve after a severe accident. It also encourages car companies to test and inspect all of their vehicles before they’re sold to the public.
Design Defects vs. Manufacturing Defects
What is a design defect?
A design defect occurs when there is a problem with the way a product is designed. The danger is in the blueprints. The product will be dangerous no matter how it is assembled.
Example: Imagine that the blueprints for Massoud’s Telsa called for a specific type of bolt for the steering column. It turns out that the size bolt in the design specs is much too small to keep the steering wheel in place. This would be considered a design defect.
What is a manufacturing defect?
A manufacturing defect occurs when there’s an issue with how a product is assembled or built. The product’s design is perfectly fine. The defect arises because that design isn’t executed properly. A manufacturing defect can affect one item on the production line or an entire batch.
Example: The design for Massoud’s Tesla requires a specific type of steel. When the car is manufactured, the company substitutes a different type of steel to mold the steering column. This alternative isn’t strong enough to hold the wheel in place. This would be considered a manufacturing defect.
Tesla May Be On the Hook for Medical Bills, Other Damages
Tesla can be strictly liable for defects inherent in its vehicles. Massoud and other Tesla accident victims can ask to be compensated for their economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages compensate victims for the financial costs of an accident. This includes money for:
The cost of repairing or replacing damaged property
Reduced earning capacity, and more.
Non-economic damages are used to help with injuries that are hard to value. This can include money to compensate for:
Loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Tesla will try to minimize the amount of money they pay to Massoud and other accident victims. It will be important for plaintiffs to have the assistance of experienced personal injury lawyers. An attorney will protect their legal right to obtain compensation while also making sure that their injuries are valued properly.