Tesla Autopilot Lawsuit Update (2024)

Get the latest updates on Tesla Autopilot lawsuits and learn why these claims are filed. Includes history of the different claims and which are ongoing.

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Tesla Autopilot Lawsuit Update (2024)

Tesla’s Autopilot was once held up as a significant leap toward futuristic, fully autonomous driving. However, a string of high-profile and sometimes fatal accidents raised questions about how reliable Autopilot technology is on the road.

In this article, we’ll look at why some of those questions have resulted in Tesla facing lawsuits over Autopilot. We’ll also look at the types of lawsuits filed, their current status, and whether you can bring a new lawsuit against Tesla now.

What Is Tesla Autopilot?

Tesla debuted Autopilot in 2014. It is designed to center the vehicle in the driving lane, and also can speed up or slow down depending on conditions ahead of it on the road.

In spite of the name, Tesla Autopilot does not take over for the driver. News articles, like this one from Motor Trend, are quick to point out that using Autopilot does not mean the vehicle can drive itself.

Tesla has launched several versions of Autopilot, including Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD). None of these features actually drive the car, and vigilance from the human driver is still required when operating a Tesla with Autopilot or FSD operating.

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Why Are Tesla Autopilot Lawsuits Filed?

Lawsuits against Tesla Autopilot allege that the company engaged in dishonest marketing and failed to protect drivers of its vehicles. While there are numerous cases making different allegations, the most prevalent claims include:

  • People have suffered injuries or been killed due to a driver’s reliance on Tesla Autopilot or FSD.
  • Tesla advertised Autopilot and FSD deceptively, which misled purchasers into believing the features do not require active driver attention.
  • The naming of Tesla Autopilot and FSD misleads drivers into believing the vehicles can operate safely without driver attention.
  • Tesla was aware that their naming and advertising of Autopilot and FSD would cause confusion about feature limitations, but continued anyway.

Types Of Lawsuits Filed Against Tesla Autopilot

Lawsuits filed against Tesla regarding Autopilot and FSD fall into two categories: product liability cases and deceptive advertising cases.

Product Liability Lawsuits

Several product liability lawsuits have been filed against Tesla alleging that Autopilot or FSD failed to perform correctly and caused a crash. There have been several high-profile accidents, including fatalities, that have led to claims Tesla Autopilot is faulty or fails to deliver its promised safety features.

Unlike other car accident lawsuits, these cases attempt to shift the blame from a driver who caused a crash to the vehicle manufacturer. In cases against Tesla, it is alleged that Autopilot or FSD played a significant role in crashes. As a result, Tesla should be liable for the injuries and property damage caused by their vehicles crashing.

Deceptive Marketing Lawsuits

Another category of lawsuits involves the alleged mischaracterization of the Autopilot system. Plaintiffs in these cases claim that Tesla has overstated the functionality and safety of Autopilot. Additionally, plaintiffs allege that statements from Tesla have repeatedly promised that greater functionality is coming soon, while then failing to deliver.

These lawsuits highlight discrepancies between Tesla's marketing materials and the actual performance of the Autopilot system, suggesting that the company engaged in deceptive practices.

History Of Tesla Autopilot Lawsuits

There have been many lawsuits against Tesla Autopilot. The following are examples from cases filed against the company:

  • In July 2021, a pedestrian accident occurred when a Tesla struck and killed a man changing a flat tire on the side of the road. Autopilot was engaged at the time of the accident.
  • In September 2022, a proposed class action was filed alleging Tesla misled consumers with false advertising statements.
  • In November 2022, an accident occurred involving eight vehicles. The driver of an involved Tesla indicated to authorities that his FSD software made his vehicle brake unexpectedly.

Some attempted class action lawsuits, including the 2022 false advertising lawsuit, have been forced into arbitration for many plaintiffs. This means that the cases cannot go forward as a class and plaintiffs will instead need to present their claims individually through an arbitrator.

Other cases have had more success. In 2024, Tesla settled a lawsuit just before trial was due to start. The case centered on the 2018 death of a driver whose car collided with a highway barrier. The deceased driver’s family alleged that Autopilot steered the car into the barrier. The details of the settlement and its value have not been made public.

These cases can be complicated and require significant legal knowledge to navigate. Fill out the form on this page to connect with a qualified lawyer today.

Government Investigations Involving Tesla

Tesla has also been subject to investigations and legal action by government agencies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into Tesla Autopilot in 2021. In 2024, NHTSA issued a demand for data on Tesla’s 2023 voluntary software recall related to Autopilot.

NHTSA published a study of driver-assistance systems involved in crashes. The study covered the period between July 2021 and May 2022. During that time, 392 accidents were reported with vehicles using driver-assistance systems. Of those accidents, 273 crashes involved Teslas.

Meanwhile, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has pursued deceptive marketing claims against Tesla. That administrative lawsuit is ongoing, but could result in Tesla losing the right to sell vehicles in California.

Victoria Pearce, Esq.'s profile picture

Victoria Pearce, Esq.

Contributor

Victoria is a legal and HR content writer with a background as a practicing attorney in California and Texas.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Potentially yes. Filing a lawsuit against Tesla for an Autopilot or FSD crash requires a demonstration that Tesla’s negligence was a proximate cause of the accident and resulting damages. Consulting a lawyer familiar with defective products litigation is the best way to evaluate the strength of your case. Fill out the form on this page to get help today.

  • Most class action lawsuits involving Tesla Autopilot have been forced into arbitration due to a clause in the Tesla purchase agreement. This makes it unlikely that a class action case will move forward. However, many individual cases against Tesla are ongoing.

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