California Family Sues Tesla Over Death of 15-Year-Old

Tesla has made it into the news again—with another highly publicized court case. Turning heads all around California and making it into the national limelight is the story of Jovani Maldonado, a 15-year-old who was riding in his dad’s truck when they got rear-ended by a Tesla Model 3 while on the highway. The crash caused his vehicle to roll over, and he was jettisoned during the chaos. Jovani died that day, and his family believes that Tesla’s autopilot feature was to blame. 

Tesla Autopilot Woes

The Maldonado lawsuit is one of several that have been filed this year, with each claiming some grounds for personal injury damages to be paid out as a result of Tesla’s autopilot. For those unfamiliar, the electric car giant boasts a feature that allows drivers to turn driving control over to the vehicle’s advanced computer system while they enjoy the ride hands-free. It’s a popular selling point for the vehicle, and more or less relies on a series of cameras and sensors to steer the car through traffic. 

On occasion, however, there have been incidents where the autopilot fails to recognize a hazardous situation quickly enough. Examples include a 2019 crash when a Tesla Model S failed to stop at an intersection in Florida and killed 22-year-old Naibel Leon, who was parked on the shoulder at the time. There is also the case of Darel Kyle, 55, a man who suffered a severe back injury when he was rear-ended by a Tesla in autopilot mode. The list goes on. 

Too Little, Too Late

When it came to Jovani’s death, the Tesla had been speeding up to 70 miles per hour as Maldonado’s truck signaled that it was changing lanes ahead. Instead of heeding the warning, the Tesla kept up its fast pace until the final second before the crash, when it attempted to slow down dramatically. By then, it was too late. He was not wearing a seatbelt, and was later found deceased near the scene of the crash before paramedics could tend to his injuries. 

After finally obtaining a 6-second long recording of the final moments of the crash from Tesla, the Maldonados and their lawyer feel that they have conclusive evidence that they deserve restitution for the pain and suffering their family has gone through. Also named in the lawsuit are defendants Romeo Lagman Yalung of Newark, who was driving at the time; and his wife, Vilma, who owns the car and was a passenger during the crash.

Contact Gokal Law

Have you recently been in a car accident? You may be entitled to a case. Contact Alison Gokal of Gokal Law Group, Inc. Our team will diligently investigate your claims, interview witnesses, and give you the support you need to win your case. The sooner you contact us, the more effective we are at getting you the justice you deserve.

Gokal Law Group is a family firm that treats our clients as if they were our own flesh and blood. We fight for our clients as we would our own children, sisters, brothers, and parents. We are our clients’ Warriors, fighting to bring them justice and right the wrongs they have endured.

Each attorney has a specific practice area for which they are tried, tested, and battle-ready. Each has vast years of experience in their practice area, providing them the knowledge, skills, and vision to fight and win. Learn more about Gokal Law Group.

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