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California Tesla Accident Attorney

California is home to more Tesla vehicles than any other U.S. state. But according to data from a recent study, Tesla drivers are involved in accidents at a higher rate than drivers of any other car brand (23.54 accidents per 1,000 vehicle drivers). One of the reasons for this disturbing statistic is the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), which Tesla markets as “Autopilot”.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has claimed that the company’s ADAS technology helps drivers with steering, acceleration, and braking, making a Tesla driver using Autopilot about 10 times less likely to crash than a driver of an average car. But a two-year investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that Tesla's Autosteer feature, part of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD), had safety defects that may increase the risk of a collision. Furthermore, NHTSA found that Tesla drivers can easily misuse the Autosteer feature and may not be aware of whether it is engaged or turned off, potentially leading to accidents. 

If you or someone in your family was harmed in a Tesla crash, you may be wondering about your legal rights. Can you sue Tesla for an autopilot accident? Does a Tesla record an accident? What do you do after a Tesla accident?

On this page, the California car accident attorneys at Wisner Baum answer these and other questions about the legal process for victims of Tesla crashes. If you would like to speak with a lawyer about your case, you can fill out our free case evaluation form or call us at 855-948-5098. Our team of Tesla accident lawyers represents you on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay anything upfront to retain us; we only get paid if we win justice and compensation on your behalf. 

Information on Pursuing a Tesla Accident Lawsuit



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What is Tesla Autopilot?

The Tesla autopilot system is technology that allows for semi-autonomous driving using a combination of sensors, cameras, and software to assist with steering, acceleration, and braking. Tesla offers the Autopilot system as a standard feature on the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y. Additionally, Tesla offers optional upgrades such as Enhanced Autopilot and FSD capabilities for advanced autonomous driving features. The availability of these features may vary depending on the model and production year of the Tesla vehicle.

Is Tesla Autopilot Safe?

While the Tesla Autopilot system has shown promising capabilities, there have been concerns raised about its safety and reliability. Some accidents and fatalities have been linked to reliance on the autopilot system, highlighting the ongoing challenges of integrating such advanced technology into everyday driving. 

In 2021, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called on Tesla to restrict the operational limits of Autopilot and establish a more effective system to ensure driver attentiveness. In her letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy noted that her agency's investigation of a crash involving a Tesla and a semi-truck demonstrated Tesla's practice of permitting Autopilot use on roads where the Autopilot system was not designed to operate safely. 

The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) has investigated at least 35 cases since 2016 in which the agency believes the autopilot system may have been engaged. At least 17 people died in these crashes.  

Tesla Recall Announcements

Tesla has issued several recall announcements over issues like the autopilot system, the font size of key warning lights on the instrument panel, the backup camera and more. Below we detail some of the lates Tesla recalls:

Tesla Warning Lights Recall (February 2024)Tesla informed the NHTSA that it would recall over 2 million vehicles to repair an incorrect font size on the instrument panel for important warning lights, including the Brake, Park, and Antilock Brake System (ABS) warning lights. The affected models include the Tesla Cybertruck (2024), Tesla Model 3 (2017-2023), Tesla Model S (2012-2023), Tesla Model X (2016-2024), and Tesla Model Y (2019-2024).

Tesla Backup Camera Recall (January 2024)Tesla announced a rear camera recall for 200,000 vehicles due to software instability that stops the rearview camera from displaying properly, which could increase the risk of a crash. The affected models include the Tesla Model S (2023), Tesla Model X (2023), and Tesla Model Y (2023).

Tesla Autopilot Recall (December 2023)Tesla announced a recall for over 2 million vehicles spanning four different models to address a flaw in its Autopilot system. A recent investigation by the NHTSA has revealed that the system's safety protocols are sometimes insufficient and "can lead to foreseeable misuse of the system."

Although branded as Autopilot, it is not a completely autonomous self-driving system. While it can autonomously steer, accelerate, and brake within its lane, it still requires the driver to oversee the system. A Washington Post report found that the autopilot system deployed on roads and in situations for which the system was not designed to be used. This has led to numerous fatal crashes.

The models named in the Tesla Autopilot recall are the Tesla Model 3 (2017-2023), Tesla Model S (2012-2023), Tesla Model X (2016-2023), and Tesla Model Y (2020-2023).

What Happens if You Get Into a Tesla Accident?

If you or someone in your family sustained injuries in a Tesla accident, you may be able to pursue compensation in an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, depending on the circumstances of the crash. Tesla accidents that result in minor injuries will go through the insurance claims process. However, if the Tesla autopilot system was involved in an accident that caused injuries, it may be possible to sue Tesla for damages. 

Whatever caused the Tesla accident that injured you, we recommend consulting with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to identify the cause of the crash, collect all evidence necessary to build a strong case, and retain experts to reinforce the allegations. During this process, a Tesla accident attorney will also identify any additional parties (another driver, for example) that may be liable for the accident, which maximizes your chances of receiving full and fair compensation. 

We know that it can be alarming to find out that a luxury car with some autonomous features may not be as safe as you thought. However, as the growing number of lawsuits against Tesla indicates, this company still has a lot of work to do when it comes to ensuring that its vehicles are safe. 

Can You Sue Tesla for an Autopilot Crash?

Yes, you can sue Tesla if the autopilot system fails and causes an accident or injury. As a consumer, you have the right to hold a manufacturer accountable for any manufacturing or design defects in their products that result in harm. To successfully sue Tesla for a malfunctioning autopilot system, your attorney will likely take the following steps to build a strong case on your behalf:

  1. Analyze data and telemetry from the vehicle at the time of the incident: All Teslas manufactured since 2016 have event data recorders (for the Model Y, EDR’s are an optional feature). By reviewing the vehicle's logs and data recordings, your lawyer can determine if there were any anomalies or errors in the Tesla autopilot system performance leading up to the accident.
  2. Conduct a third-party evaluation of the autopilot system: Independent experts in autonomous driving technology could be brought in to evaluate the system and assess its functionality, identifying any potential flaws or weaknesses.
  3. Compare the system's performance to industry standards: The autopilot system could be evaluated against established benchmarks and standards for autonomous driving technology to determine if it meets these criteria or if there are significant deficiencies.
  4. Examine the history of similar Tesla autopilot crashes: If there continues to be a long list of complaints and/or accidents that implicate the autopilot system, this information could be used to strengthen your claim.

What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need for a Tesla Lawsuit?

If you are looking to sue Tesla for a malfunctioning autopilot system, you need to hire a lawyer with expertise in product liability law and/or personal injury law. These types of attorneys specialize in cases involving defective products and negligence, which may be relevant in a lawsuit against Tesla for an autopilot system that allegedly failed and caused a crash.

In researching the best lawyer for your Tesla accident lawsuit, you should also consider experience in handling complex technology-related cases. Can the attorney effectively navigate the challenges that come with suing a large tech company like Tesla? Do they have a strong track record against major corporations? 

These are important questions to ask when deciding who should represent your legal interests. Remember, companies like Tesla will do whatever it takes to protect their bottom line and limit their liability. Your attorney needs to be able to meet that challenge with the strength, experience, and resources needed to win. 

How Much is a Tesla Accident Lawsuit Worth?

The amount of compensation you might expect in a Tesla crash case depends on your claims for damages. Below are some common types of claims you may have in a Tesla crash case:

Medical Expenses: In a Tesla crash case, you can seek compensation for all medical expenses related to the injuries you sustained in the accident. This includes hospital bills, doctor's visits, prescription medications, rehabilitation costs, and any future medical expenses that may be necessary for your recovery.

Lost Wages: If your injuries from the Tesla crash have caused you to miss work or be unable to return to work, you may be able to claim compensation for lost wages. Damages for lost wages may include both past and future lost income, as well as any loss of earning capacity due to your injuries.

Pain and Suffering: You may also be able to seek compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering you have experienced as a result of the Tesla accident. Because these are non-economic damages, pain and suffering can be more difficult to quantify. Your attorney will be able to give you a better idea of what you might expect after evaluating your case.

Property Damage: If your vehicle was damaged in the crash, you can seek compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement of the vehicle. This can also include any personal property that was damaged or destroyed in the accident.

Punitive Damages: In some cases, if the at-fault party's actions were particularly reckless or malicious, you may be able to seek punitive damages on top of the other types of compensation listed above. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.


Yes. In April of 2024, Tesla and the family of Wei Lun Huang agreed to a confidential settlement to resolve a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a fatal crash in California. According to the Tesla lawsuit, Huang had engaged the Autopilot system 19 minutes before his Tesla Model X collided with a concrete median at 71 miles per hour. Tesla accident attorneys alleged the defective Autopilot system caused Mr. Huang’s death because it lacked the technology to avoid the crash. 

According to the New York Times, Tesla filed court documents to keep the payout and terms of the settlement from being made public. The Huang Tesla lawsuit was one of the most prominent to date because the fatal crash initiated an NTSB investigation. The government agency concluded that the Tesla Model X Autopilot failed to keep the car in its lane and that its collision-avoidance software did not detect a highway barrier. The investigation also said Mr. Huang had likely been distracted. 

California Tesla Crash Lawyers – Billions Won Across All Practice Areas

There are hundreds of thousands of Teslas operating in California. With an accident rate that exceeds any other vehicle on the road, accident victims need to know where to turn if the worst should happen.  

If you have been injured in a Tesla crash, it is important to consult with an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process and maximize your potential compensation. Cases involving the Tesla Autopilot system can be complex product liability cases that differ from an everyday car accident lawsuit. 

In a traditional car accident case, liability is typically based on the actions of the drivers involved - factors such as speeding, distracted driving, or running a red light may be at play. However, in the case of a Tesla accident involving autopilot, the question of who is liable becomes more complex. If the evidence suggests a defect in the autopilot system contributed to the crash, then Tesla may be held liable for the damages in a lawsuit. 

Even if you may have been partially at-fault for the accident, you may still be able to pursue compensation under California’s comparative negligence law. How does this work? Let’s say, for example, you were 50% responsible for the crash that injured you. California state court will still allow you to pursue damages for all of your economic damages (loss of income, medical bills, ets.) and 50% of your non-economic damages (pain and suffering, etc.). Again, this is why it is important to have a legal team on your side that has proven results in these types of cases. 

At Wisner Baum, our California Tesla accident lawyers represent clients across the state and nationwide. We have several California law offices to meet the needs of our clients:

Contact Us today for a free case evaluation. Still have questions? Call us at 855-948-5098.