California Mom Sues Tesla After She Says Her Toddler Nearly Ran Her Over with a Model 3 Electric Car

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A Santa Barbara mother has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Tesla saying that her toddler got into the driver’s seat of her Model X SUV, put it into gear and pinned her against the wall. According to a news report in The Drive, 31-year-old Mallory Harcourt says she was eight months pregnant at the time and gave birth prematurely as a result of the incident. Her pelvis was cracked in three places and she suffered a broken leg after the vehicle suddenly accelerated and struck her, she said.

Dangerous Design Flaw

Harcourt said her three-day-old Tesla was parked in the driveway with the engine off. She had left the falcon doors open as she got her toddler and some groceries out of the car. As she walked toward her garage, Harcourt said her 2-year-old son ran back toward the car, jumped into the driver’s seat. The mom walked in front of the vehicle and claims it lurched forward unexpectedly, striking her and pinning her against the wall. Her lawsuit states the impact broke her leg and fractured her pelvis in multiple places, along with forcing the premature delivery of her daughter through said fractured pelvis once she received medical attention at a nearby hospital.

The lawsuit also states that her son has been traumatized for months as a result of seeing his mother hurt and has required therapy, the lawsuit states. Harcourt said in her statement that her toddler learned how to start and operate the Tesla faster than an adult can open a childproof bottle.

The lawsuit says a design flaw in the Tesla makes it extremely unsafe. The child apparently lodged himself between the accelerator and driver’s seat, pulled the gear lever and accelerated directly into his mother. Tesla has said it’s simply a case of an “unsupervised child” managing to successfully shift the vehicle into gear and then hit the gas.

Justice for Victims

Tesla has said this was not a situation that was “reasonably foreseeable.” The lawsuit is urging Tesla to issue a formal advisory and make a safety modification to the Model X’s start-and-drive functionality. Multiple lawsuits accusing Tesla’s vehicles of unintended acceleration have been filed against the automaker, but none have yet won or even made it to court.

As auto defect lawyers, we are deeply concerned about the problems this Tesla design flaw might cause for consumers. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these or other auto defects, our experienced auto defect attorneys can help you seek justice and fair compensation for your losses.



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