Another Tesla Autopilot Crash Leads To More Legal Questions

The Associated Press is reporting another Tesla car crash, which was allegedly traveling about 60 miles per hour, when it rear-ended a fire truck stopped at a red light. The driver sustained a broken right ankle, told police that her car was in autopilot mode and failed to brake before the violent impact decimated its front end.

This is is the fourth Tesla involved in a traffic crash this year while cruising in autopilot.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation into the matter. “Consistent with NHTSA’s oversight and authority over the safety of all motor vehicles and equipment, the agency has launched its special crash investigations team to gather information on the South Jordan, Utah, crash.” the agency said in statement Wednesday. “NHTSA will take appropriate action based on its review.”

For me, the most crucial aspect of this particular case is whether the vehicle owner will seek damages against Tesla for her injuries. Typically in a case like this, the party that rear-ended another vehicle would not be able to seek damages for her injuries as she was the one that was at-fault for the car accident. Our civil justice systems allows parties to seek reimbursement for economic and non-economic damages against at-fault parties. In this case, if the driver can prove that the Tesla software failed by not stopping on time, then she could seek damages under a product liability claim. Unfortunately, product liability cases are very expensive due to the high costs of experts in these types of cases. Regardless, I think the driver here would have a very strong case based on the facts that we know. There are no allegations that the fire truck she rear-ended doing anything wrong. It was merely sitting idle at a red light. The question is whether an attorney will want to take on the cost for this type of case for just a broken ankle.

Another interesting question will be whether the driver’s insurance carrier will seek a subrogation claim against Tesla for the cost of repair or replacing the damaged vehicle. The insurance company could easily ask for reimbursement for the repair or replacement of the vehicle if the evidence continues to show that their driver did nothing wrong. Again, the subrogation claim would most likely come under product liability. This could be the rare situation where a plaintiff personal injury attorney and auto insurance company team up together for the same common goal.

These are some of the very intriguing issues that continue to arise from car accidents stemming from self-driving cars.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago traffic accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

FDA Examining Blue Bell Ice Cream For Alleged Listeria Outbreak

The Washington Post reported this week the Federal Food and Drug Administration is investigating a listeria outbreak in Kansas that may have been caused by Blue Bell ice cream products. Three (3) people have died from the listeria, and a total of five (5) have gotten sick between January 2014 and January 2015. Officials also detected three of those strains in a Texas Blue Bell production plant, where the company is based. Health departments in South Carolina and Texas also found listeria in certain Blue Bell products.

According to the FDA, Listeria is the name of a bacteria found in soil and water and some animals, including poultry and cattle. It can be present in raw milk and foods made from raw milk. Listeria is unlike many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator. Listeria is killed by cooking and pasteurization. Listeriosis, an infection caused by Listeria, can pose major risks for certain populations. Namely, pregnant women, older adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems are at greater risk.

Blue Bell Creameries announced it recalled the affected products and had them removed from store shelves. “One of our machines produced a limited amount of frozen snacks with a potential listeria problem.”

Blue Bell’s cup, pint and half-gallon products are not affected by this current outbreak. The FDA has warned consumers not to eat any of these products:

  • Chocolate Chip Country Cookie
  • Great Divide Bar
  • Sour Pop Green Apple Bar
  • Cotton Candy Bar
  • Scoops
  • Vanilla Stick Slices
  • Almond Bars
  • 6 pack Cotton Candy Bars
  • 6 pack Sour Pop Green Apple Bars
  • 12 pack No Sugar Added Mooo Bar

This is obviously a scary situation for people who may have been affected by this product. There is the potential that the families of those who have died could have a wrongful death lawsuit against Blue Bell if they can prove that the listeria bacteria came from their plant and made these people sick. This type of wrongful death lawsuit would be filed as a product liability case as the company is alleged to have put a dangerous or defective product into the stream of commerce. I have not seen any news of lawsuits that were filed against Blue Bell for this outbreak of listeria.

If you or someone you love has been injured from a defective or dangerous product or has a Chicago wrongful death case, then contact Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.