Tesla Resolves Legal Dispute Following Fatal Autopilot Incident Involving Apple Engineer

Tesla reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Walter Huang, an Apple engineer and father of two who died in 2018 when his Model X SUV, with Autopilot on, crashed into a barrier near Mountain View, California.

The settlement happened as the trial was about to start in a California court. By settling, Tesla avoids the case going to trial and all the evidence and testimonies being shared publicly.

The company argued Huang was distracted; settlement terms were sealed, raising questions about Tesla’s safety culture.

The National Transportation Safety Board looked into the crash and said in 2020 that Tesla’s technology and possibly Huang being distracted contributed to the accident.

They found that Tesla’s safety systems didn’t work properly, and the road markings and barrier positioning might have also played a part.

Huang’s family sued Tesla for his death, focusing on problems with Tesla’s driver assistance systems. They referred to Tesla’s marketing, which suggested that Autopilot made driving safe without paying full attention.

The lawsuit’s resolution could impact future product liability cases against Tesla, potentially setting legal precedents. (Credits: X)

Internal emails from Tesla mentioned employees being too relaxed while using Autopilot, even checking their phones while driving.

A trial was set to start this week in San Jose, California, but Tesla settled just before it began. Tesla’s lawyers argued that Huang, the driver who died, was distracted by playing mobile games on his phone.

The settlement amount is kept private, as Tesla requested to seal it from the public. The crash and the lawsuit raised concerns about Tesla’s safety culture and the quality of its driver assistance systems.

Elon Musk’s stance on legal battles contrasts with Tesla’s settlement in a high-profile case. (Credits: X)

If Tesla had been found responsible for Huang’s death, it could have affected similar lawsuits against the company in the future.

Elon Musk had previously stated that Tesla wouldn’t seek victory in just cases against it or settle unjust cases, regardless of the outcome.

Tesla’s lead attorneys were not available for comment, and Tesla’s lawyers asked to seal the settlement terms to prevent it from affecting future cases.

Lawyers representing the Huang family did not respond to requests for comment

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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