A California woman, Mallory Harcourt, is suing Tesla, alleging that her brand-new 2019 Model X SUV performed an unintended acceleration and pinned her to a wall in her garage. The lawsuit was filed on May 17, Business Insider reported.
According to the suit, Harcourt was eight months pregnant at the time and the accident sent her into premature labor after breaking her bones. She had just come home from the grocery store and Harcourt’s 2-year-old, B.H., was in the car as this was happening, the suit claims.
According to the lawusit, on December 27, Harcourt exited the car after returning home from shopping and opened the car’s falcon-winged doors to remove her groceries and B.H. from the back.
She took her son inside to change his diaper, but he ran back into the car, into the driver’s seat. The vehicle was in park, the lawsuit says.
As Harcourt moved in front of the Model X to remove B.H., the car accelerated, pinning her against the wall with its doors still open, the suit says.
The suit claims the acceleration lifted Harcourt off her feet and pinned her against the wall. B.H. started crying and Harcourt called to her neighbors for help. The neighbors called an ambulance, and Harcourt went to the hospital, where she went into premature labor with her daughter, Business Insider writes.
Unintended accelerations are not unheard of in the automotive industry. The lawsuit cites a case from 2013 in which an Oklahoma jury rendered a verdict in favor of plaintiffs who alleged that software issues with their Toyota caused an unintended acceleration, which killed one person and injured another.
Harcourt’s suit alleges that Tesla’s poor Model X design is at fault. The suit says the car lacks proper driver’s occupancy seat sensors, control logic to ensure all doors are closed before acceleration, a simultaneously pushed button on the shifting mechanism to engage the car’s drive system, and/or necessary control logic to prevent an unintended acceleration or reversal.
After a similar incident in April 2018, when a Model X crashed into a gym after the driver reportedly hit the brake, a Tesla spokesperson said that in every case when a driver has “suddenly” and “unexpectedly” accelerated that the company has dealt with, the driver was at fault.
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