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Jury finds Tesla just '1%' responsible for a Florida teen's crash

Tesla will have to pay $105,000 out of a $10.5 million award to the teen's family.

January 20, 2019 - Altamonte Springs, Florida, United States - A Tesla electric car is seen parked at a charging station in Altamonte Springs, Florida on January 20, 2019. Tesla has raised prices at its Supercharger stations, and will now set prices according to local demand and power rates. 

 (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images
Devindra Hardawar
Devindra Hardawar|@devindra|July 20, 2022 5:05 PM

Tesla is receiving minimal blame for a fiery 2018 crash in South Florida, which killed two teenagers and injured another. A jury today found Tesla just one percent responsible for the crash, reports the AP, which means it's only responsible for paying $105,00 of the $10.5 million awarded to the teen's family. 90 percent of the blame was placed on the teen driver, Barrett Riley, while his father James Riley received nine percent of the blame.

According to an NTSB investigation, Barrett Riley was driving at 116 mph in a 30 mph zone near Fort Lauderdale Beach. The agency concluded he most likely lost control of the vehicle. James Riley initially sued Tesla over the crash, claiming that it would have been survivable if the electric car's lithium ion batteries hadn't “burst into an uncontrollable and fatal fire." He also noted that the company removed a speed limiter that was meant to keep the vehicle under 85 mph. An investigation later found that his son had asked a Tesla dealership to remove that limiter.

Tesla lawyers argued that Riley's parents were negligent by allowing him to drive the car, despite his record of reckless driving and speeding. They denied negligence on the company's part. After the crash in 2018, Tesla released an update allowing drivers to set their own speed limits, a feature initially dedicated to Barrett Riley.

Jury finds Tesla just '1%' responsible for a Florida teen's crash