Tesla sued after 2-year-old hits mother with Model X car 'It's defective'

Is Tesla to blame because a toddler hit his mother with the family's Model X SUV? That's what a California jury will soon decide in a civil lawsuit that could raise questions about the vehicle's safety features and force Elon Musk's electric car company to pay hefty damages.

Tesla, Model X PHOTO Archive

The trial is expected to take place in Santa Clara this week.

The car would have broken down

In 2019, California woman Mallory Harcourt filed a lawsuit against Tesla over the incident, accusing the company of negligence, consumer fraud and product liability. She claims in the lawsuit that her new 2018 Model X SUV was “defective” in terms of design because her 2-year-old son was able to start the vehicle and hit her with it outside the family's Santa Barbara home, she notes Business Insider.

The incident took place on December 27, 2018.

The mother, who was eight months pregnant with her second child at the time, was pinned against a garage wall when the vehicle accelerated, the filing said. Mallory suffered fractures and had to give birth to her daughter prematurely about a week later with a ruptured pelvis.

Mallory's wounds have healed over time, but her pain is permanent.”
his lawyers wrote in an April 8 legal filing.

No one could expect it like a two-year-old ce

climbs into the floor of a vehicle, which is in parking with the brake on hand activated can make the vehicle start, move out of park and move”, the lawyers added. “Such a vehicle is defective.

The woman and her husband had purchased a Model X as a family vehicle after seeing advertisements for it “the safest, fastest and most capable SUV ever”according to the document.

The incident happened just four days after the parents bought the vehicle. At one point, the boy “escaped” his mother and climbed into the footwell of the vehicle through the open door.

He then contacted the brake pedal, which started the car and automatically closed the driver's door. A few seconds later, the boy (identified as ? H) he reached out and touched the gear lever on the steering column, which brought the car out of parkcourt documents state.

BH a presst then the accelerator pedal, which caused the car to start moving forward. From the moment diWhen the BH entered the Tesla until it started moving, it was only a few seconds”is the sequel.

His mother saw Tesla as he was entering the garage and “he practically had no time to react”.

She moved to the front of the MACHINE hoping the vehicle would recognize her and stop because the Tesla was equipped with the technology about which which understood that it would recognize if the vehicle hit something and stop”the document says.

The Model X then accelerated to more than 12 kilometers per hour and hit the woman. It was the neighbors who jumped to his aid.

The pregnant woman with her husband, child and new car PHOTO Mallory Harcourt/ Business Insider

The pregnant woman with her husband, child and new car PHOTO Mallory Harcourt/ Business Insider

The company blames the woman: “she made the extraordinary decision to jump in front of the car”

Tesla argued in court documents that the woman was solely to blame for the incident and that the design of the Model X likely saved her life.

The evidence will to miss that Mrs. Harcourt was alone to blame for the wounde and that the Model X's sophisticated driver assistance features saved her and her children from far more serious injuries.”Tesla's lawyers wrote in the lawsuit filed on April 8.

Mrs. Harcourt left her in the way careless unsupervised two-year-old son on driveway, with access to a vehicle that had two open doors and the keys inside, enough to allow him to get into the vehicle, step on the pedals and to putUm in speed”they continued.

Lawyers for the company said in the court filing that Harcourt “made the extraordinary decision to jump in front of the Model X while it was moving. The entire incident could have been avoided by either supervising the toddler or, failing that, using the PIN-to-Drive option.

Tesla's PIN-to-drive option is a security measure that requires the owner to enter a four-digit password to drive the vehicle, according to Tesla's website.

Lawyers for the automaker explained that the Model X is an all-electric vehicle, and pressing the brake starts it just like turning the key in a gasoline car. The child “hit the gas pedal and the Model X lurched forward”.

The Model X, the lawyers wrote in the brief, “it worked exactly as designed and very likely saved Mrs. Harcourt's life”.

Tesla, involved in numerous lawsuits

This is far from the first time Tesla's lawyers have appeared in court over safety issues. Like many automakers, Tesla has faced several lawsuits over accidents and the company's potential role in accidents. Tesla owners have sued the automaker over everything from battery fires and phantom braking incidents to its driver assistance software.

Last year, a woman sued Tesla after her husband's Model 3 allegedly exploded on impact, ultimately killing him. In 2022, in what was the first Tesla lawsuit involving a fatal accident, a Florida jury awarded the families of two teenagers who died in a crash involving a Model S 10, 5 million dollars.