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

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, with a Model S car. Photo: Reuters, 2016

In Illinois today, a law firm announced they are filing a lawsuit against Tesla to hold the electric car maker accountable for a teen who died in an accident involving a car they say had a defective battery pack.

The lawsuit filed by Chicago firm Corboy & Demetrio claims Tesla's 2014 Model S sedan had a defective battery pack that was responsible for the death of an 18-year old passenger in an accident last May.

Some 12 cases of Tesla S batteries spontaneously bursting into flames, while parked or driving out on the road, have happened in the last five years, the law firm says.

Elon Musk's electric car company has been in the news over the past year or so with stories that raise concerns about the conditions in which these Tesla batteries are produced.

There's also the whole thing about a Mexican drug cartel dealing meth inside one of the factories where the batteries are made.

From Reuters:

Last May, a Tesla driven by Barrett Riley with passenger Edgar Monserratt Martinez crashed into a concrete wall and erupted in flames in Fort Lauderdale, Florida killing both the teenagers, according to the lawsuit.

The law firm represents the estate of Edgar Monserratt Martinez.

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.

An additional count in the lawsuit alleges Tesla was negligent in the removal of the limiter.

It added that Riley was driving the vehicle at 116 mph, immediately before the collision.

“No car could have withstood a high-speed crash of this kind,” Tesla said in a statement, adding that its speed limit mode, which allows owners to limit their car’s speed and acceleration, was introduced as an over-the-air update last year in dedication to Riley.

The lawsuit also alleges that Tesla “failed to warn purchasers of its vehicles of the battery’s dangerous condition.”

in 2018, NTSB claimed it was investigating the crash, but no report has been made public -- and now NTSB and all other federal government agencies are shut down due to Trump's border wall standoff.