Wednesday, 20 July 2022 09:58

Tesla to Pay $10.5M for 1% Negligence in 2018 Model S Crash

Written by Maria Merano, Teslarati


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On July 19, a Fort Lauderdale, FL, federal jury released its verdict on a 2018 Tesla Model S crash that resulted in 18-year-old Barrett Riley’s death.

The jury found Tesla 1% negligent for the Model S accident and ruled the victim and his father were 99% at fault. 


The six-person jury found Barrett Riley was 90% to blame for the crash, while his father, James Riley, was 9% liable and his mother, Jenny Riley, was 0% responsible.


As per Bloomberg, the jury also ruled James and Jenny Riley sustained $10.5 million in pain and suffering damages for their son’s death.


On May 8, 2018, Barrett Riley drove his father’s Model S with his friends. Riley lost control of the vehicle while driving 116 mph. The Model S hit the concrete wall of a house in Fort Lauderdale and caught on fire. Riley and one of his passengers died, while a third person survived the crash. 


James Riley filed a product liability suit against Tesla in Florida federal court in 2020. In his complaint, Riley claimed the vehicle's lithium-ion batteries “burst into an uncontrollable and fatal fire” after his son crashed.


The Riley family argued Barrett might have survived the accident if the Model S hadn’t caught on fire because of a defective Tesla battery design. On June 29, a judge dismissed the Rileys’ claim about a defect in Tesla’s lithium-ion battery cells and battery pack before the trial started. 


The family also noted Tesla removed the speed-limiting device Jenny Riley requested for the Model S, designed to cap the vehicle’s speed at 85 mph. 


However, Tesla’s lawyers argued the teenager told the company’s service center staff to...

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