In a heartbreaking incident, a widow is taking legal action against Tesla after her husband’s fatal crash in a 2020 Model 3 that erupted into a fiery explosion. Jiyoung Yoon has laid the blame squarely on Tesla, asserting that they were responsible for her husband’s car being in its “defective and unreasonably dangerous condition,” leading to his untimely demise. This lawsuit has been officially filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.
Jyung Woo Hahn, at the age of 46, met a tragic end on March 12, 2022, while driving his Tesla along the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Rockland County, New York. The car, according to sources, malfunctioned, crashed into a tree, and instantly went up in flames.
Heartbreakingly, Yoon believes her husband survived the crash but was trapped inside as the car was quickly consumed by fire. Photographs taken after the incident depict nothing but a burnt-out shell of what used to be a car.
Firefighters from Nanuet, upon arriving at the crash site, encountered immense difficulty in extinguishing the fire. The culprit? The car’s lithium-ion battery, which, once punctured, undergoes “thermal runaway”. This process sees a drastic surge in the battery’s temperature and pressure, releasing flammable gas. When ignited, this leads to a rapid fire that is not only hard to control but releases harmful fumes. Remarkably, it took over 1,000 gallons of water to quell the inferno.
Tesla’s unique design incorporates batteries that stretch across the car’s entire floor, making such fires even more widespread. Yoon’s lawsuit alleges that Tesla’s design and manufacturing rendered the car not “crashworthy”.
In addition to this, she accuses Tesla of negligence and breaching the implied warranty of merchantability. The grieving widow is seeking a jury trial and demands compensation covering lost wages, emotional distress, and more.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t an isolated incident involving a Tesla vehicle. The flammable nature of lithium-ion batteries has led to multiple Tesla-related fires. Earlier in July, two lives were lost in New York when a Tesla hit a house and ignited. That same month, another Tesla crash at an elementary school in California resulted in the car catching fire.
In the midst of these growing concerns, TechCrunch has reached out to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) to understand if they are probing these Tesla-related fires. The NHTSA is presently examining issues related to Tesla’s power steering control and has started multiple investigations into Tesla’s Autopilot system’s role in past accidents.
In conclusion, as technology advances and we shift towards more sustainable transportation methods, it is vital to ensure safety remains paramount. As the investigations unfold, many await answers, hoping for improvements in the future of automotive safety.