The family of a passenger who died in a fatal fiery crash involving a Tesla nearly three years ago has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the automaker over a series of alleged defects that they say caused the explosive wreck. According to a report in the Indianapolis Star, the wrongful death lawsuit, which was filed in Alameda Superior Court in California, accuses Tesla of negligent and wrongful conduct in connection with the November 2016 crash.
The lawsuit was filed by Stacey McCarthy, wife of Kevin McCarthy, who was one of two victims who died in the crash. The couple also has three young children. The other victim, Casey Speckman, was McCarthy’s employee and died in the crash months before her wedding. McCarthy owned the 2015 Model S vehicle, but he was a passenger in the car at the time. According to officials, Speckman was driving.
Several Vehicle Defects Alleged
The vehicle went out of control and crashed into a tree and parking garage on Nov. 3, 2016. Speckman, 27 and McCarthy, 44, were killed. The lawsuit says Speckman lost control when she was trying to avoid a wrong-way driver. The car burst into flames. While McCarthy attempted to escape the vehicle, the complaint states, car defects prevented him from getting out safely.
Among the alleged defects are the vehicle’s unstable lithium ion batteries, which have been pointed out as an issue in other fiery crashes. The lawsuit alleges unintended acceleration, saying the vehicle sped up to 70 mph from 10 mph seconds before the crash. It also alleges faulty door handles trapped McCarthy in the vehicle after the crash. Police said Speckman died from crash-related injuries, McCarthy died as a result of burn and smoke inhalation injuries due to the car fire. Authorities also pointed to drunk driving as a factor in the crash. But the plaintiffs’ attorneys say they believe drunk driving did not cause the crash and the fatalities.
Cause for Concern
We hope this lawsuit brings out the facts about the potential defects in Tesla vehicles. The vehicle defects listed in this complaint are worrisome to say the least. The lithium-ion batteries have been raised as an issue in many fiery crashes involving Tesla vehicles. In some cases, law enforcement agencies have reported fires re-igniting hours after the crash and after the fire had been put out. We hope this family gets its day in court.