A Florida jury on Tuesday ruled that Tesla is liable for 1 percent of its negligence in the 2018 Model S crash that killed two people and injured one, for which it needs to pay $10.5 million to the plaintiffs. In this case, Tesla was sued for negligently removing a speed-limiting device on a Model S.
In 2018, Riley sued Tesla after Barrett Riley, the son of James Riley, the plaintiff in the case, lost control of a Model S at 116 mph (187 km/h) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and crashed into a concrete wall of a house, killing him and another passenger in the car.
James Riley’s attorney said Barrett’s mother had asked Tesla to install a speed limiter on the Model S to keep him safe, but Tesla negligently removed the limiter two months later. Tesla, for its part, said Barrett tricked Tesla employees into removing the speed limiter when the car was sent in for service. This speed limiter ensures that the car’s speed is less than 85 miles per hour (about 137 kilometers per hour).
The jury found that Tesla was negligent for removing the “speed limiter” that the Riley’s had installed to prevent their son from driving too fast. Although the jury found Barrett Riley 90 percent responsible for the accident and his father 9 percent, the jury awarded Tesla $4.5 million and $6 million to Barrett’s parents, James Riley and Jeanne Riley, respectively.