Tesla has found itself in legal trouble once again as the family of a Florida teenager has sued the automaker for negligence resulting in their son’s death.
The lawsuit goes onto say Riley lost control of the vehicle while traveling at speeds in excess of 116 mph (186 km/h). The car then hit a wall before bouncing back across the roadway and then hitting a light pole. The vehicle then caught on fire and both Riley and Monserratt were killed.
While this sounds like a simple case of driver responsibility, the lawsuit alleges that Riley was ticketed for going 112 mph (180 km/h) on March 3rd. As a result, his parents had Tesla install a limiter on the vehicle which would prevent the Model S from traveling at speeds in excess of 85 mph (136 km/h).
Less than month after the speed limiter was installed, the Model S was serviced at Tesla Bahia Beach. During the service, the limiter was allegedly “improperly removed” and Riley’s parents weren’t informed about this.
The lawsuit contends that if the speed limited hadn’t have been removed, “the vehicle would not have exceeded 85 mph (136 km/h) and Barret Riley would not have lost control” resulting in the death of Monserratt.
Monserratt’s family is seeking more than $15,000 (£11,722 / €12,990) for their son’s death as they want Tesla and the service technician to pay for funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering as well as the lost income that Monserratt would have accumulated during his life. While there’s no word on how much that would be, the lawsuit appears to be asking for hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
The lawsuit goes onto allege that the Model S was not crashworthy and had batteries which were “inherently unstable and subject to explosion and spontaneous fire.” The latter claim is likely a reference to the fact that the battery pack reignited twice after fire fighters initially extinguished the blaze.
In a statement to Arstechnica, Tesla said “Our thoughts continue to be with the families affected by this tragedy.” However, the company added “Unfortunately, no car could have withstood a high-speed crash of this kind.”