Tesla owner involved in> $ 100K legal battle as parking lot blames ‘Autopilot’ for Model 3 crash


A Tesla owner is in the middle of a battle worth more than $ 100,000 in property damage after his Model 3 Performance crashed while being pulled out of a valet parking lot. Despite being right and having the evidence to back up his claims, the Tesla owner has ended up in an uphill battle that could last for some time.

From routine to terror

It was supposed to be a routine process. After having his Model 3 parked in a multi-story garage, the Tesla owner asked for his vehicle to be returned to him. Then a valet came by to retrieve the Model 3 from its parking spot. A Teslacam video of the valet driving the vehicle showed that everything appeared normal, even though the parking attendant was driving a bit fast in such a tight space.

Moments later, the Tesla owner was shocked when part of the walls of the second floor of the parking lot crashed into the sidewalk below. Images taken by the electric car owner after the incident revealed that a vehicle had been partially pushed through the brick walls of the parking lot. Fearing the worst, the Tesla driver ran to check on the valet and his Model 3.

What he saw confirmed his fears. Crushed against two vehicles was his blue Tesla Model 3 Performance, its front end crushed when colliding with other parked cars.

Unintentional “autopilot” acceleration

When the valet stumbled upon the Model 3, he quickly claimed that the Tesla suddenly engaged the autopilot and headed toward the other vehicles. The valet was not kidding.

While those inexperienced with Tesla technology may find it easy to blame the autopilot for avoiding liability when something terrible happens, those familiar with the driver assistance system know that the autopilot cannot be used in many places. One of them is, of course, a multi-story parking lot. The owner of the Model 3 then knew something was wrong when the valet told him that “Autopilot” suddenly pushed the Tesla towards the other vehicles.

The parking company has pleaded not guilty, claiming the incident was caused by “unintentional acceleration” by the Model 3. The company refused to budge and the Tesla owner decided to fight to the end. Being familiar with the way Tesla stores its vehicle data, the Model 3 owner decided to gather so much evidence that there will be no way for his insurance company to lose the case.

The search for evidence

In cases like these, involving a party claiming inadvertent acceleration via “autopilot,” it is always best to have a report from Tesla’s event data recorder (EDR). The EDR is like the black box of the car, it records everything that has happened in the vehicle. Everything from the weight of the driver, the speed of the vehicle, which pedals were pressed, and how much they were pressed, could all be determined in the EDR report. The Model 3 owner then contacted Tesla for help in retrieving his car’s records.

Much to his chagrin, Tesla refused, citing legal reasons because he lives outside of California. In a statement to the YouTube channel Wham baam teslacamThe Model 3 owner commented that he is not really sure why Tesla rejected his application, although he believes that if it had been his lawyer who had contacted the electric car manufacturer, the results would have been different. Disappointed but not deterred, the Model 3 owner ended up hiring an EDR technician to retrieve the report from his Tesla. The move cost him $ 1,300.

EDR’s report was damning. A look at the Model 3 data showed that the valet was not even wearing a seat belt while operating the Tesla. The vehicle was also moving reasonably fast for a car pulling out of a multi-story parking lot. But even more importantly, the EDR showed that the valet had applied 100% pressure on the accelerator and 0% pressure on the brake pedal up to the moment of the crash. Using this data, the Model 3 owner thought that he could ultimately prove that the claim of inadvertent parking acceleration was not true.

Deny evidence

But despite the wealth of evidence provided by the EDR report, the parking company decided to dig its heels into the sand and defend its claim of unintentional acceleration. The Model 3 owner’s insurance company has paid multiple claims for damages that resulted from the incident and has agreed to reimburse you after the litigation is over. But that process could take a long time.

The incident resulted in $ 24,000 worth of repairs for the Model 3 Performance. Adding up the damage from the other vehicles involved in the incident and the actual damage to the multi-story building itself, the total cost of property damage from the accident is estimated to exceed $ 100,000.

Ultimately, the Tesla owner’s experience with parking highlights two notable things. One, parking lots and valets need to know that it is difficult to lie about what is done in a Tesla, as the EDR data would definitely show the truth. And second, Tesla’s service has plenty of room for improvement, so owners who reach out to the company for help after such a distressing and aggravating incident will not be turned away. After all, an EDR application is best approved, especially one from a landlord involved in an accident.

Watch Wham baam teslacamThe article about the notable incident in the video below.

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