Who is at Fault in a Tesla Autopilot Accident in North Carolina?

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “What if the accident was my fault?”


When Tesla first announced its Autopilot technology, people were thrilled. They thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if my car could drive me around while I am watching a movie or napping on my way to or from work?

nikola-tesla-sign-Charlotte-Monroe-Lake-Norman-Personal-Injury-Lawyer-300x225In theory, it sounds great. But, unfortunately, Tesla’s Autopilot system has become associated with dozens of car crashes over the past years, which prompted many car owners to rethink the safety of the Autopilot and self-driving technologies in modern vehicles.

Tesla Autopilot Accident in North Carolina

Most recently, a driver of Tesla was involved in a car crash in North Carolina while using the automaker’s Autopilot system. As reported by The News Observer, the driver was watching a movie behind the wheel of his Tesla. The Autopilot system was engaged when the car crashed into a deputy’s vehicle along U.S. 64 West. The driver was accused of watching television while operating a motor vehicle and violating North Carolina’s move-over law.

It is not the first time a Tesla driver causes a car crash while having the Autopilot feature turned on. Tesla’s website warns drivers using the Autopilot system that the feature requires “active driver supervision,” and it does not make the vehicle autonomous. The automobile manufacturer reminds drivers that the feature merely enables their vehicle to “steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane.”


Who can be Held Liable When Tesla’s Autopilot Causes a Car Accident?

Unfortunately, some owners of Tesla vehicles mistakenly believe that the Autopilot system does not require supervision and can be used as a self-driving vehicle. However, a Tesla driver must still operate the car even when the Autopilot system is engaged.

When a Tesla Autopilot accident occurs, determining liability can be tricky without a thorough investigation. In most such crashes, it is vital to understand how the collision occurred and whether negligence or malfunction contributed to the accident.

Did the Autopilot system malfunction? Tesla’s Autopilot feature can cause a car accident when it fails to detect an obstacle, alert the driver of a hazard, or activate the automatic emergency brakes to avoid a crash. If the Autopilot technology malfunctions, the manufacturer of the vehicle or the system may be held liable for the collision.

Was the driver negligent? If the Autopilot system works properly, but the driver fails to exercise due care, the driver may be fully at fault for the accident. For example, if the system detects a pedestrian, but the Tesla driver fails to take reasonable precautions to avoid hitting the pedestrian, the motorist is to blame for the crash.

In some car accidents involving Tesla’s Autopilot technology, the self-driving system and the driver may both be at fault. For example, if the Autopilot feature failed to defect a pedestrian, but the driver had enough time to see the pedestrian and apply the brakes to avoid the crash, both parties may be at fault for the accident.

It is advised to contact a knowledgeable car accident lawyer in North Carolina to investigate your Tesla Autopilot crash and determine what caused the collision. Speak with our attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to review your particular case. Call (704) 370-2828 to receive a video or phone consultation with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.







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