The parents of a Florida teenager who was killed in an unfortunate Telsa sedan crash caught fire last year and Tesla is being sued since they alleged that the battery pack on its electric Model S was defective and could burst into intense fires.
Edgar Monserratt and Esperanza Martinez de Monserratt, in the lawsuit which was filed on Tuesday in Broward County Circuit Court, alleged that the car’s battery was not protected adequately and this made the entire vehicle defective. Their son, Edgar Monserratt Martinez, 18, was a front-seat passenger on the crash that occurred in Fort Lauderdale on May 8, 2018 which killed the teenager, the driver, Barrett Riley, who was also 18. In addition to this, another teen was thrown out of the car and sustained injuries.
Chicago attorney Philip Corboy Jr., one of the attorneys representing the parents. said this- “The Tesla S sedan doesn’t have adequate measures to prevent a post-collision fire and had inadequate measures to contain a fire. Riley’s parents had a device which was installed on the 2014 Tesla which limited its speed to 85 miles per hour after he was ticketed in March for driving at 112 mph (180 kmph). The device had been installed at a Tesla service center but was removed during a subsequent service visit without the knowledge of the parents.”
The lawsuit accused Tesla of negligence and sought to damages worth $15,000 (roughly Rs. 10.5 lakhs).
A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, that is investigating the crash and others involved in the Tesla vehicles and fires, stated that the Model S was traveling at 116 mph (187 kmph) three seconds before the crash into a wall, and only slowed to 86 mph (138 kmph) as the airbags inflated. The car missed a curve with a 25 mph (40 kmph) speed limit and hit the wall two times, and the witnesses reported that it erupted into flames.
Tesla, Palo Alto, California said- “Our thoughts continue to be with the families affected by this tragedy. Unfortunately, no car could have withstood such a high-speed crash of this kind.“
Last year Tesla introduced “Speed Limit Mode,” which allowed Tesla owners to limit their car’s speed and acceleration, and they dedicated this feature to Barrett Riley.
Witnesses told investigators that the Tesla driver drove into the left lane to pass another vehicle and during the process, lost control of the car while trying to return to the right lane. At the crash site on Seabreeze Boulevard, the road curved to the left, and there was a 25 mph (40 kmph) warning sign that had a flashing beacon.
Tesla’s lithium-ion battery reignited twice even after the firefighters extinguished the flames, the first time as the car was being loaded for removal from the scene and again in the storage yard.
Batteries like lithium-ion which are used by electric cars are inflammable and catch fire very easily and burn rapidly in a crash. But Tesla has continued to maintain that its vehicles catch fire very less often than those which are powered by gasoline.