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Tesla Car Fires

When you’re shopping for a car, you probably don’t think to yourself, “OK, I need a car that won’t catch on fire,” because that is something that should never happen, period, no matter what you drive. Well, apparently Tesla didn’t get the memo. In November 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a probe into Tesla’s batteries, citing an “alarming number of car fires that have occurred worldwide.”

Among Teslas’ many worrisome malfunctions, their propensity for going up in smoke is one of the most concerning. For some, the Tesla fires call to mind Samsung phones and other electronic devices that have been known to overheat, scorching consumers. Why do these cars keep catching fire, and what can injured Tesla drivers do about it?

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  • Timeline of Tesla Recalls

    Since 2017, Tesla has issued a series of troubling recalls that affect tens of thousands of cars:

    • April 2017: Tesla issues a recall of 53,000 Model X and Model S cars due to faulty parking brakes. More than half of the Model X and Model S vehicles sold in 2016 are recalled.
    • October 2017: Tesla recalls 11,000 Model X SUVs because of a defective rear seat locking mechanism.
    • March 2018: Tesla recalls 123,000 Model S sedans because of a dangerous issue with the power steering.
    • January 2019: Tesla recalls 14,000 Model S vehicles equipped with potentially explosive Takata airbags.

    Notice anything? None of the above recalls were related to the fire issue. That’s because Tesla and founder Elon Musk have argued that the problem is overblown, despite numbers that suggest otherwise. From February 2018 to April 2019, Business Insider counted five Tesla fire-related deaths. The outlet also noted that “firefighters cannot put out a lithium-ion-battery fire with foam or dry chemicals. These fires cannot be fought with anything but 500 to 8,000 gallons of water and patience.” This is a scary prospect for Tesla drivers.

  • Tesla Car Accident Fires

    Business Insider says there have been at least 20 Tesla fires since 2013. Here are some of the most notable incidents:

    • On February 12, 2020, in Cerritos, California, a Tesla charging in a garage caught fire, sending a child to the hospital.
    • On January 18, 2020, in Pleasanton, California, a Tesla Model S jumped a curb, slammed into a brick wall, and caught fire, killing its driver.
    • On June 1, 2019, in Antwerp, Belgium, a Model S caught fire while charging. To douse the flames, firefighters had to drop the car in a tank of water and leave it submerged overnight.
    • On May 13, 2019, in Hong Kong, China, a Model S parked in a public garage caught fire. As a result, Tesla issued an Over-the-Air (OTA) update to the model’s thermal management system.
    • In February 2019, in Davie, Florida, Omar Awan died after his Model S crashed into a median and erupted in flames. His widow, Lilliana Awan, filed a lawsuit arguing that Tesla’s special doors prevented rescuers from reaching her husband in time.
    • On June 15, 2018, “West Wing” actor Mary McCormack tweeted about her husband’s Model S catching fire “out of the blue, in traffic on Santa Monica Blvd.”
    • On March 23, 2018, on Route 101 in California, a Tesla Model X P100D collided with a safety barrier and caught fire. The driver died from injuries sustained in the crash.

    The Drive has compiled a more extensive list of these types of incidents.

  • Tesla Fire Attorneys

    If you or a loved one suffered injuries or property damage in a Tesla fire, you could be owed money for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

    Morgan & Morgan has more than 560 attorneys who specialize in these types of complex cases. We have the experience, reputation, and resources to take on big companies like Tesla and win. To date, we’ve recovered more than $9 billion for our clients.

    It costs nothing upfront to hire us, and we get paid only if you win a jury award or recover a favorable settlement. To see if you have a case, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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