Tesla Sued Over Suspension System in Fatal Florida Crash
Tesla Inc. has been sued over an alleged suspension failure in a crash that killed the driver and a passenger in Florida last year and sparked a federal probe.
The 2021 Model 3 vehicle had a “defective and unreasonably dangerous suspension that may cause loss of control during ordinary and foreseeable driving conditions,” according to the lawsuit filed by the driver’s family in a Florida state court last week. The case was first reported by legal information site Plainsite.
The lawsuit said that four days before the accident in September, the driver, Nicholas G. Garcia, brought the vehicle to a Tesla Store due to problems with “controllability/steering, suspension, battery and electronic system, and an ability to open the doors.”
The lawsuit accused a Tesla service manager of “negligently” inspecting the affected model.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which is probing the accident, said in a preliminary report in November that the car was speeding before crashing into two trees and catching fire.
Garcia, 20, and front-seat passenger Jazmin Alcala, 19, sustained injuries and “traumatic life ending burns,” according to a Coral Gables Police Department report.
The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $30,000 each from Tesla and the service manager.
Tesla was not immediately available for comment.
The vehicle’s under-body struck the roadway after going over a “hump” in the center of an intersection, according to the police report seen by Reuters. The driver lost control and drove off the roadway before the collision.
In October, Tesla recalled nearly 3,000 2020-2021 Model Y and 2019-2021 Model 3 vehicles in the United States over a suspension issue. Tesla recalled 21,599 China-made Model Ys in December, saying a suspension link may fall out of the steering knuckle under extreme stress conditions.
In 2020, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into around 115,000 Model S and Model X vehicles over a front suspension safety issue.
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