Family of man killed in Mountain View Tesla crash exploring legal options

Bay Area

The family of a man who was killed in a car crash while driving his Tesla in Mountain View is currently exploring legal options.

Walter Huang died on March 23 when the “autopilot” feature of his 2017 Tesla Model X drove his car into the edge of a concrete highway median that was missing its crash guard, according to a statement from the Minami Tamaki law firm.

The firm’s preliminary review has uncovered complaints by other Tesla drivers of navigational errors by the Autopilot feature, and other lawsuits have also made this complaint, according to a statement by the law firm.

“The firm believes Tesla’s Autopilot feature is defective and likely caused Huang’s death,” according to a statement.

The law firm says the Huang family intends to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Tesla “and possibly its subcontractors involved in the design and construction of the Autopilot system.”

Additionally, the firm says the family may also file a lawsuit against the California Department of Transportation for “dangerous condition of public property.”

“Mrs. Huang lost her husband, and two children lost their father,” said B. Mark Fong, a partner at Minami Tamaki LLP, in a statement. “The family wants to investigate this incident and help ensure that this tragedy does not happen to other consumers who buy semi-autonomous vehicles. Our goal as the family’s attorneys is to protect public safety, by ensuring the technology behind semi-autonomous cars is safe before it is released on the roads, and its risks are not misrepresented to the public.”

According to the law firm, a preliminary review indicates that the navigation system of the Tesla may have misread the lane lines on the roadway, failed to detect the concrete median, failed to brake the car, and drove the car into the median.”

The law firm also says “the concrete highway median was missing its crash attentuator guard, as Caltrans failed to replace the guard after an earlier crash there. The lack of a guard potentially increased Huang’s injuries.”

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