Man Dead After Vehicle's “Autopilot Mode” Fails

Self-driving technology is often marketed as being the ‘future of driving’. Tesla activated its autopilot mode in 2015 which is designed to automate steering, braking and lane switching.

Unfortunately, this technology failed one of its Model S vehicles, leaving one man dead.

Joshua Brown was using Tesla’s autopilot technology in May 2016 when the vehicle collided with a big rig. The autopilot sensors failed to detect the large white truck making a left turn in front of the vehicle, killing the 40-year-old driver. It is suspected that the sensors were not able to detect the white truck because it was set against a bright sunny sky.

Negligence, Product Defects and Other Factors

At this time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is continuing to investigate this accident which raises many questions about liability and responsibility.

An argument that Tesla acted negligently is possible. Unlike other companies which have developed similar technologies, the marketing surrounding Tesla’s technology suggest that their vehicles are automated and require no driver intervention.

Another potential claim could be that the product was defective. In this instance, it may be found that Tesla did not sufficiently vet its product before releasing it to the public.

There is also a question about the liability of both the driver of the Tesla Model S and the driver of the truck. In this unique situation, questions such as driver intervention will likely be asked. The driving behaviors of the truck driver will also be investigated.

What to Do after an Accident

If you are involved in a car accident, there are critical details which should be recorded when and if you are able to do so.

  • Make note of the time of the accident and where it occurred
  • Obtain the other driver’s name, date of birth, address and license plate information (including the state)
  • Share insurance company information (policy number and the expiration of auto insurance), including the policy holder’s name and address
  • Note any injuries and damage to property

When to Contact an Attorney

Those involved in a car accident should contact a personal injury attorney at Binder & Associates if:

  • Fault is being contested
  • If you are facing significant out-of-pocket expenses
  • If you were significantly injured and/or are facing a lengthy recovery time

Binder & Associates offers free consultations to anyone who has been involved in a car accident. To schedule a free consultation with one of our expert car accident attorneys, contact us today at (818) 740-7667


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