Tesla Settles Autopilot Wrongful Death Case

Image shows the inside of a Tesla with the screen warning danger! Alluding to a wrongful death case involving their auto pilot.

Tesla, the well-known electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, recently settled a wrongful death lawsuit involving its autopilot technology. This marks a significant moment in the ongoing debate over automated driving systems. This settlement relates to a 2018 incident where a former Apple engineer lost his life in a tragic accident involving Tesla’s autopilot. According to Schlesinger Law Offices, this settlement is an important development for consumers who may have been negatively impacted by self-driving technology. 

Tesla’s Autopilot Scrutiny Intensifies 

The company’s autopilot system, a driver-assistance technology designed to automate some driving tasks, has been under intense scrutiny. According to a Washington Post article, since 2019, the Tesla autopilot has been involved in more than 700 crashes with at least 19 fatalities. These statistics raise concerns about the safety and reliability of all automated driving systems 

The Tragic Incident and Legal Proceedings 

In March 2018, Walter Huang, an Apple engineer, died when his Tesla, operating on autopilot, collided with a highway barrier near Mountain View, California. The legal battle that ensued focused on whether Tesla’s autopilot technology was responsible for the crash. Forensic analysis suggests that the vehicle was misled by faded lane markings and erroneously shifted lanes, leading to the fatal incident. This case, settled just a day before jury selection was to start, avoided a potentially lengthy public trial that would have put Tesla’s autopilot technology under rigorous examination. 

Tesla’s Defensive Stance and Market Challenges 

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, has consistently defended their autopilot system, emphasizing that the system requires active driver supervision. Despite this, Tesla conducted a recall of 2 million vehicles to address concerns that the technology could promote driver inattention. This recall, the largest in Tesla’s history, reflects the growing regulatory pressure and public skepticism about the safety of Tesla autonomous driving technology. 

Financial and Market Repercussions 

Tesla’s challenges are not limited to legal battles. The company, whose stock declined about 30 percent in the early part of the year, attempted to strengthen demand for EVs through price reductions amidst a cooling market. These efforts, however, have not increased interest in their luxury EVs or lessen the mounting regulatory scrutiny. 

Legal and Consumer Implications 

Together Elon Musk and Tesla are the subject of more than 1000 lawsuits ranging from wrongful death to discrimination.  The recent settlement of the Huang lawsuit might set a precedent, indicating Tesla’s willingness to resolve disputes quietly rather than facing public legal showdowns, particularly in cases involving its driver-assistance technology. This development is particularly important for consumers who may have suffered from similar incidents. It suggests a potential for recourse and underscores the importance of holding manufacturers accountable for the safety and reliability of their technologies. 

How Schlesinger Law Offices Can Assist 

For individuals who believe they have suffered damages related to Tesla’s autopilot or any other automotive technology, it may not be too late to seek legal action. Contact Schlesinger Law Offices for your free consultation.  The lawyers at Schlesinger Law Offices have extensive experience in product liability cases and are adept at navigating the complexities of such lawsuits. The firm is committed to advocating for those affected by flawed technology and works tirelessly to secure the justice and compensation they deserve. 

As Tesla continues to innovate and push the boundaries of automotive technology, the company must also negotiate the legal, safety, and ethical implications of its advancements. The recent settlement serves as a reminder that rapid technological development cannot occur at the expense of consumer safety and trust. 



Q: Why did Tesla’s choose to settle this wrongful death lawsuit? A: It is impossible to know for sure why Tesla settled this lawsuit concerning the death of a former Apple engineer. We know that the settlement aimed to resolve disputes over the autopilot system’s role in the accident.  It is believed that a protracted legal battle may have increased scrutiny of Tesla’s driver-assistance features. 

Q: How many accidents have been linked to Tesla’s autopilot technology, and what does this imply? A: Since 2019, Tesla’s autopilot has been linked to over 700 crashes, including at least 19 fatalities. This statistic underscores the critical need for rigorous safety evaluations and clear explanations of what these autopilot systems can and cannot do to ensure user safety. 

Q: What actions has Tesla taken in response to the scrutiny over its autopilot technology? A: In response to a probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, Tesla initiated a recall of nearly 2 million vehicles to address concerns that autopilot could encourage driver inattention. This recall was conducted remotely at the end of 2023.  In February 2024, Consumer Reports wrote an article explaining how this update did not fix the safety issues.