Tesla sued for death of 18-year-old in car accident, defective battery blamed



They’re claiming that they can know that the reason he died in a 116mpg head on collision was a defective battery, which is categorically false.


Stopping distance is probably longer than that for a teals, because there’s no engine block and the whole front is a crumple zone.

By “victim,” do yo mean the people subjected to a frivolous lawsuit over someone else’s incredibly reckless actions?


Yes, but it wouldn’t be news.




You mean the passenger?
The driver’s behavior was the primary cause of this accident. I am totally blaming him.
Also throwing a little at the parents— I’m really surprised that an 18 yr old who was ticketed at 112 mph still has a license; I’m guessing that mom and dad put some pressure on. Also, I’m pretty sure he didn’t buy that car himself— they can’t control his behavior but they don’t have to buy him a car either.


He’s 18, they don’t get to “let” him do anything. However, they could have not enabled his behavior by a) intervening to preserve his license after being ticketed for 112 mph and b) providing him with his own car.
Sorry that this duplicates one of my other comments.


Xeni, you’re losing major credibility points when you treat this lawsuit as newsworthy in any way (other than a sign of our over-litigious society). Dude crashed while doing 116 in a 30 zone. Dying is an expected result.

As for the “defective battery”, cars catching on fire when crashing at 116mph are also unsurprising. Teslas catch on fire far less often than gas-powered cars, but come on, you can only expect so much.


Why yes, I do blame the person who was driving, and fully in control, and making fully informed decisions for killing himself and another passenger, and injuring a third. I’m just glad he didn’t take out another car with him.


“But that doesn’t make it false”? Is that really the form of focus we want on the news? This headline isn’t thrilling enough…let’s focus on a minor circumstance to make it more so. Yeah that makes the world we live in more honest and truthful. Way to go with the anti-Tesla focus again, Boingboing. Really focussing on what matters


When you start talking about hundreds of G’s, things like the brain separating from the brain stem or the heart tearing the aorta tend to be happening, the vehicle fire probably didn’t help, but a medical examiner isn’t going to go full CSI on some yute who did a Dale Eanhardt with his hot rod, especially if it’s almost lunchtime and the hot new intern wants to maybe grab a nice corned beef sammich together.
Sure he might have had a pulse before being toasted, but surviving even without the fire seems a tad iffy.


Two things the discussion here is missing:

The law firm represents the estate of Edgar Monserratt Martinez.

That’s the passenger who died, not the driver.

Less than two months before the crash, Riley’s parents had a limiter installed at a Tesla service center to prevent the vehicle from reaching over 85 mph, but it was removed at another Tesla service visit without his parents’ knowledge, the law firm said.

It the car was in the parent’s name, they screwed up here. Maybe even if it was in the kid’s name. When an 18 year old asks you to remove a speed limiter, it should at least involve some pointed questions.


To everyone whinging about Tesla/self-driving car hate and/or pointing out that the death was rather more to do with the reckless driving than the battery - that particular bit of spin comes from the law firm’s press release (which Xeni links to).

For some reason (probably because it’s written by some marketing person rather than a lawyer and as @CSMcDonald et al. have pointed out it makes for a juicy headline), the press release puts the battery claim first.

The lawsuit itself does not.

That is here:


(my word, that’s an ugly bunch of linkage)

Finding it was not made easier by the law firm press release giving the number of the filing rather than the case number while calling it the case number (which again leads me to think it’s written by a marketing droid).

The claim itself majors on the allegedly unauthorised removal of the speed limiter installed at the behest of the owner.

While not really much more likely to make the claim succeed, I can at least see the logic in saying that since the owner specifically asked Tesla to install a speed limiter, they should not have removed it without the owner’s ok.

If they had not removed it, the son couldn’t have been caning it at 116mph and would presumably have been less likely to lose control and wipe himself and his buddy out.

The claim about the battery is a second and separate claim.

It’s the sort of thing you chuck in especially if as I suspect the actual precise cause of death is not known/is still disputed.

If your loved one had died in an accident you wouldn’t want to lose your lawsuit (if you were minded/needed to bring one in the first place) because your lawyer didn’t plead the defective battery and the judge ruled that the impact did not cause the death, the fire did.

I mean you’d probably still win (assuming the judge agreed Tesla is liable at all which I’d say is doubtful) because without the impact, the battery wouldn’t have gone up but why take the risk?

This way if the judge disagrees that Tesla is liable because they removed the limiter but finds that the fire caused the death and would have been survivable otherwise, you still have a chance.

Given that per the NTSB report, the car apparently burst into fire after hitting the second concrete wall (at presumably less than 86 mph given that was speed at the time the airbags deployed) that doesn’t seem too unlikely a finding, especially since the passenger who was ejected from the car survived.

If @NickKordich’s CBS report is correct, even more so.

TL-DR, it’s a dubious lawsuit but whoever pleaded it knows a hawk from a handsaw (at least when the wind’s southerly).


Right, I mentioned that they had requested the limiter as well (you give better detail, I was lazy) - my main complaint was BoingBoing using the click bait headlines - I hold them to a higher standard than this sort of crap for some reason :slight_smile:


Yeah, well, these days everyone just copies the press release… :frowning:

Xeni at least tries to provide links to the actual documents most of the time.


Just want to point out that the family suing is that of the passenger, not the driver. Not saying the suit has merit of course. I could see the passenger’s family suing the parents of the driver, but that wouldn’t be as rewarding as suing Tesla…


You seem disappointed.


So much disappointment in this thread over all…


I’d still buy a Tesla if I could afford one. Still the safest cars on the road, still good vehicles.

My Impala’s brakes failed 3 weeks after I had it in for a service at the dealership. Had one of us died, I might have tried to sue. But it isn’t a Tesla, suing carmakers is such a big thing that it isn’t news and none of you would ever have heard about it.

ETA - apparently my ‘knowledge’ that Teslas are the safest was outdated at best. I’d still love to own one instead of my shitty Impala.


Just want to thank you for actually offering some useful information and not tripping over your keyboard to explain how it could be anyone or anything’s fault except for your favorite car marque and its cherished manufacturer without bothering to even check whose family filed the lawsuit.