Tesla wins lawsuit over Autopilot Model S crash

A California jury ruled the automaker wasn't at fault for a 2019 accident.

Matthew Childs / reuters

This week, Tesla defeated a lawsuit that blamed the company’s Autopilot for a 2019 crash, reports Reuters. On Friday, a California state court jury found the driver assistance software was not to blame for a Model S crash that left the driver of the vehicle with a fractured jaw, missing teeth and nerve damage. Justine Hsu sued Tesla in 2020 after her EV swerved into a center median on a Los Angeles city street while Autopilot was engaged. She sought more than $3 million in damages, alleging defects in the software and the design of Tesla’s airbags.

Tesla denied liability for the accident. It argued Hsu used Autopilot on a city street, a practice the company warns against in the software’s user manual. The jury awarded Hsu no damages and said the automaker did not intentionally fail to disclose facts about Autopilot. As Reuters notes, it’s believed the trial is among the first involving the driver assistance mode. While the result won’t be “legally binding in other cases,” it is expected to inform how lawyers tackle future incidents involving the technology.

The result of the case is also unlikely to ease the scrutiny Tesla already faces related to its claims around Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” software. At the start of the year, the automaker confirmed the US Department of Justice had requested documents linked to the two features. The company is also under investigation by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for Autopilot collisions involving parked emergency vehicles.