Tesla Model X Owner Files Sudden Acceleration Lawsuit Against Automaker After Crashing Into His Own House

Tesla Model X


Crashed Tesla Model X - Image Credit: Tesla Motors Club Forum

Crashed Tesla Model X – Image Credit: Tesla Motors Club Forum

Sudden accelerations claims against vehicles are common. So much so that we usually dismiss them without even waiting for evidence to be presented.

Crashed Tesla Model S - Sudden Acceleration Again Blamed, But Untrue

Crashed Tesla Model S – Sudden Acceleration Again Blamed, But Untrue

However, one Tesla owner recently went so far as to file lawsuit (filing/docket info here – hat tip to George K) against the automaker over a sudden acceleration claim, according to Reuters.

This isn’t the first time a Tesla owner has tried to pin pedal misapplication onto the automaker and it won’t be the last, but before we get to that, let us first present the owner’s side of the story.

As Reuters reports:

“The Model X owner, Ji Chang Son, said that one night in September, he slowly pulled into his driveway as his garage door opened when the car suddenly sped forward.”

“The vehicle spontaneously began to accelerate at full power, jerking forward and crashing through the interior wall of the garage, destroying several wooden support beams in the wall and a steel sewer pipe, among other things, and coming to rest in Plaintiffs’ living room,” the lawsuit said.

“The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, seeks class action status.”

Tesla Model S Inside Restaurant After Pedal Misapplication

Tesla Model S Inside Restaurant After Pedal Misapplication

*Editor’s Note: Unfortunately we don’t have any images of the crash mentioned by Son. Images throughout this article are from previous sudden acceleration claims, all of which have been denied or proven untrue by Tesla.

The class action status is being sought due to there being at least 7 other similar complaints logged on the NHTSA database (anyone can file a complaint on this database and there are often even “trollers” filing complaints who use fake VINs and/or don’t even own said vehicle).  Most of these complaints have been refuted and proved untrue by Tesla, who examines vehicle data logs to determine the actual cause of the incident.

In this case too, Tesla determined that sudden acceleration did not cause the wreck. Tesla issued this statement:

“We take the safety of our customers very seriously and conducted a thorough investigation following Mr. Son’s claims. The evidence, including data from the car, conclusively shows that the crash was the result of Mr. Son pressing the accelerator pedal all the way to 100%.”

That should be the end of the story, but as of right now, the suit still stands. Apparently, there’s some pent up hate from Son towards Tesla. Tesla’s statement included this:

“Before filing his class action lawsuit against Tesla, Mr. Son had threatened to use his celebrity status in Korea to hurt Tesla unless we agreed to make a financial payment and acknowledge that the vehicle accelerated on its own. However, the evidence clearly shows the vehicle was not at fault. Our policy is to stand by the evidence and not to give in to ultimatums.”

We feel this lawsuit will be promptly dismissed once Tesla is afforded the opportunity to present its data, but as always we’ll stick with this developing story to keep you abreast of any developments.

Source: Reuters, Electrek

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

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74 Comments on "Tesla Model X Owner Files Sudden Acceleration Lawsuit Against Automaker After Crashing Into His Own House"

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He threatened to use his celebrity status? That says to me he knows its his own fault.

Hope he uses uses celebrity status, I am waiting for a model3



And this guy is a celebrity why? Because he can’t differentiate between the gas and brake pedals? If that is the case my three year old niece is a celebrity, I’ll have to go check her twitter feed.

He’ll become a bigger celebrity after this news.
He should post his stupidity on youtube and make milions.

I also agree this is ridiculous. Seems like pedal misapplication to me, but with the power that a Tesla creates, can you imagine the amount of damage driving into a building with the throttle at 100% would create.

Reuters has probably grown tired of “sudden acceleration” cases too, but this was Tesla and they are Reuters.

Pure blackmail.
Should see follow up legal action.

Idiots shouldn’t drive cars.

A Big +1

Which is why there is such a push for autonomous cars.

I am not a Tesla owner, so I don’t know how it works, but I was under the impression that the radar/autopilot functions had a minimum default setting to prevent crashes.

It’s a good question.

You can overwhelm emergency braking if you ‘lay’ on the accelerator while the car is attempting to brake. If the distance is short enough and you go to 100% throttle, you’re definitely going to crash.

Roy, collision avoidance systems are NOT capable of avoiding all accidents. And if you drive any car with that expectation, you are a danger to the road. Even a Mercedes, who was one of the leading companies at building collision avoidance systems, can’t stop all accidents.

Besides, collision avoidance systems are more interested in solving for the typically more serious accidents, like high speed collisions. And frankly, that SHOULD be their primary focus. Not stopping relatively slow speed collisions like this one.

Isn’t it all recorded if the driver applied the brake etc: 0r if it were really sudden acceleration with help from the driver ? I know Tesla Is well aware of everything that takes place when one is driving one of these..

Exactly, which is why Tesla has never lost a “unintended acceleration” lawsuit. They basically have a data recorder that tells them whether or not the accelerator or brake is pressed (along with a host of other data).

Eluctruk is correct.

All Electronic Data Recorders (EDR’s) are mandated to collect 15 different pieces of data, including brake and accelerator pedals.

They not only have the record of the accelerator pedal, but the brake pedal too.

This is law that Tesla and every other car maker must follow, for the 90%+ of all cars that are now built with EDR’s.

So they have two data sets, and they know what happened. This isn’t the only car that has ever had an accusation of unintended acceleration that the EDR has debunked.

Tesla can certainly present computer log showing that computer software “thought” 100% acceleration was applied. Proving that physical accelerator pedal was pressed, and no brake at the same time, is a bit more difficult, although you may get some clues from raw data.

I don’t think Tesla has camera to monitor driver feet and pedals, even if it has it for front view.

Given how cheap cameras are these days, a foot camera would not be a bad idea. It could have very low resolution, so the additional data storage would be insignificant.

The sensor for pedal is a different one from throttle, so you can identify not only if the car was accelerating but also how the pedal was pressed.

You can if you have raw high resolution data from sensor, and if that data is logged at all at high enough resolution. But I didn’t heard so far Tesla releasing anything like this in similar cases, just the standard “we determined that we are not guilty”.

Anyway as with any user interface design in any field, if you find that you are getting too many “stupid idiot” users making stupid mistakes, it is better to look for an idiot in your user interface designer position, not just blame users.


You have a primary misunderstanding of how all cars that have drive by wire and brake by wire operate.

They are all mandated to have redundant systems for both Throttle Position Sensor, and Brake Sensor. All cars that can apply the brake or a drive-by-wire accelerator on behalf of the driver have to have redundant sensors for those systems.

That means a minimum of 4 sensor readings that would all have to be all reading exactly backwards from reality, all at the same time. 2 for each pedal.

Tesla most certainly knows which pedal the driver pressed, and which one was not.

The only mystery here is why a hard core Tesla hater like yourself would ever be taken seriously when you make outlandish claims without any actual basis in fact.

I only mean that you have no data whatsoever to make any hard claims at this point. The defendant’s claim “I’m not guilty” is just that, BS, without any discovery process and raw sensor data available to be analyzed by third party to back up that claim. 99% of complex computer programs are full of bugs and can log anything random.

It applies both Tesla or any other automaker. E.g. Toyota had paid some billion or so in criminal settlement in similar case for hiding/misrepresenting data, and it wasn’t just “stupid drivers” or “ambulance chasers”, and its logging was claimed to be buggy. Tesla has reputation for over-hyping and double-talking as well. Only completely fanatical zealots can deny it.

Even if it was just pedal misapplication (most likely), there are means to deal with it and it is amazing that $100k supposedly luxury autopiloted car with instant high torgue can so easily destroy houses (wait until some crazy terorists will discover it), while plain econoboxes with parking sensors manage to deal with most of such pedal misapplications:

It’s Mr ‘celebrity who has to prove that he did’t step the accelerator and the position sensor of the accelerator is faulty.
Good luck with that.
Tesla only needs to make a self check of the sensor and the issue is solved.

Maybe that Car is Possessed by the Ghost of Christmas Past. L O L .

why dosent crash avoidance stop this?

As I understand it, Autopilot doesn’t function at low speeds… perhaps 15 MPH or less?

Probably too many false positives if the car braked every time it approached a building at low speed. Do you want your car to slam on the brakes every time you try to pull into the garage? Probably not!

No doubt someday Tesla Autopilot will be sophisticated enough to stop a car from colliding with a building. But not yet.

This is what I don’t understand. There are sensors that can tell how close things are, the is a GPS and sensors to tell where the vehicle is, what direction it is pointing and “relatively” what the speed limit is.

So here I am in a residential zone (presumably as I am in front of my house), and I am pointing at a building (based on sensor data, GPS mapping and vehicle orientation). So even if I tramp the pedal 100% the software should be able to take all that into consideration and either reduce the power appropriately, restrict the speed appropriately or at worst put a prompt onto the screen indicating that it has detected a potential crash situation and request positive driver input to proceed.

In all the sudden acceleration situation I have seen reported here, they all appear to fit into these parameters and could reasonably be avoided by clever software application. If they can Autopilot down the highway you would think this parameter scenario would be easy.

Volvo does full stop at least at low speeds. It may be annoying in case of false positive, but overall it is safer as far as I heard.

You mean like this Volvo, running over two people in pretty similar circumstance?


Or this?


collision avoidance just doesn’t do what some people think it does.

Especially when the Volvo in video doesn’t have any safety system option at all :///
” The owner used a Volvo without pedestrian detection”
And yet such idiot videos about Volvo are posted all over internet! Volvo really should have made such systems non-optional before doing advertising campaign :/

Anyway, this was garage wall, not some pedestrian or high raise trailer. It certainly should have been detected, yet the car chose to brake through the wall (unless it is some new model without MobilEye and no functional substitute yet). I would say something is broken with programming logic if it can happen.

Yes, the “crude” sonar detectors and software in my Ford Focus are clever enough to slowly modulate the speed and volume of a beeping noise inside the cabin (to help me avoid crashing into things).

We couldn’t the same detectors (or even better ones) on the Tesla progressively modulate the maximum acceleration that can be applied in proximity to detected external obstructions? Or, apply braking appropriately?

Because sometimes the driver needs to park a few inches close to a garage door or a wall or another car that is parked in front or the back of his car.
The designers of these systems are assuming that the driver isn’t a complete idiot.

I was once in a store parking lot and some old lady got into her car and hit the car in reverse. And the car did hit a baggier and then slammed into the back of a van. After that the old lady panicked and slammed the car forward into a concert post.

The car was shooting up smoke like in the Hollywood Movies and the woman still had her foot on the gas.

The only way the car stopped was when someone in the parking lot reached into the still moving car and turned it off.

The car didn’t do this but the driver was in control of it.

Elderly drivers should be required to take yearly tests and their licenses revoked when they can’t pass them. The test should include crash-avoidance maneuvers that require good vision and reflexes.

“Most of these complaints have been refuted and proved untrue by Tesla, who examines vehicle data logs to determine the actual cause of the incident.”

I’m not saying this is Tesla’s fault, but hopefully Tesla is performing a post crash hardware inspection and not solely relying on a computers log. Relying on logs alone seems unwise.
If it’s anything like a gas throttle linkage, there could be an unrelated hardware failure causing the throttle linkage to move into the accelerate position. There could be other considerations that can’t be found sitting in front of a computer screen.

“If it’s anything like a gas throttle linkage” – probably not. It is highly unlikely that an EV would need “linkages” of any sort.

Well, obviously the movement of the pedal and whatever it’s linked to is a mechanical connection, but otherwise it’s “throttle-by-wire” with no moving parts involved.

That’s not to say it’s impossible for there to be some problem in the electronics; didn’t it finally come out that a few of the Toyota “unintended acceleration” cases did actually have some sort of electronic or software cause? But the odds of that are very low.

The burden of proof is on the person filing suit. Tesla has good evidence to show that the fault was with the driver. If the person filing suit wants to refute that, then he needs to present some hard evidence showing how the “black box” recording could be wrong. Simply insisting that he couldn’t possibly have slammed the accelerator to the floor by mistake, ain’t gonna cut it.

If I’m not mistaken, there are no linkages. Teslas rely on redundant(multiple) potentiometers and sensors for throttle and braking.

“Teslas rely on redundant(multiple) potentiometers and sensors for throttle and braking” – Thanks for the info!

With this new potentiometer design, I have more questions which will probably lead to even more questions. I still think Tesla should be physically inspecting the hardware in these types of crashes.

No potentiometers for throttles these days, hall effect sensors are used, even in gas cars.

I am with you on this. “what if” the vehicle is actually malfunctioning either by mislogging or indeed accelerating. Computer driving the electronics is logging the data. Who can say it is 100 percent accurate?

If the black box recordings didn’t match the physical evidence in a crash, and if that was a recurring problem, don’t you think Tesla would have noticed?

Your suggestion, while perhaps not mathematically impossible, is as absurd as claiming that we should ignore what is found in “black box” recordings from a plane crash, and keep looking for some other cause of an air disaster.

Occam’s razor (or Ockham’s razor) is a principle from philosophy. Suppose there exist two explanations for an occurrence. In this case, the simpler one is usually better. Another way of saying it is that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation is.


“If the black box recordings didn’t match the physical evidence in a crash, and if that was a recurring problem, don’t you think Tesla would have noticed?”

Tesla buries (or cremates) its mistakes.
Families of the victims pay for the service.

Rich — It isn’t just the two redundant accelerator (“gas”) sensors that would have had to have both failed at the same time, there would have had to have been 2 redundant brake sensors that would have also failed for the logs to be wrong.

If he used the brakes, and not the “gas”, the brake logs would have indicated 100% braking.

Both brake and “gas” data logs are mandated for all EDR’s for all car makers who have EDR’s. So they definitely have the data to determine which pedal was pushed to the floor, and which was not.

I guess that’s an effective way for Mr. Ji Chang Son to announce to the whole world that he is an angry idiot who can’t drive very well.

It would appear so!

I don’t own a Tesla, but my boss has a model X. I drove that car several times already. Even did 400km in one day once. drove several model S and the car didn’t accelerate on its own lol. This is clearly user mistake. What I don’t understand is how they can mistake the accelerator from the brake pedal. They are clearly different size and shape. The accelerator is more recessed in and is vertical. The brake is more forward, rectangular and horizontally positioned. You really have to be distracted not to pay attention. Maybe the guy was on his cell phone since he’s so famous lol!!

There are sensors on the pedals. If the car would have accelerated without touching or pressing the wrong pedal it would be recorded in their logs.

“What I don’t understand is how they can mistake the accelerator from the brake pedal. They are clearly different size and shape.”

Because the conditioned reflex of a driver, when confronted with the car unexpectedly accelerating, isn’t to calmly remove the foot from the pedal, and glance down to see if they have put their foot on the accelerator by mistake. The conditioned reflex is to brake hard by jamming the pedal to the floor!

As the article notes, this has happened often enough — not just with Tesla cars — to have a pretty clear pattern established for the very human cause of unintended acceleration. People are often unreliable eyewitnesses, especially in an emergency/panic situation.

“Because the conditioned reflex of a driver, when confronted with the car unexpectedly accelerating, isn’t to calmly remove the foot from the pedal, and glance down to see if they have put their foot on the accelerator by mistake. The conditioned reflex is to brake hard by jamming the pedal to the floor!”

Around 16000 cases occur each year in the US mistaking the pedals. Some people get distracted more than others. Like everything in life , you always have the better and the worst. Having too much technology around us distracts us from the task like cellular, GPS, etc.. Maybe its not the case here. Either way, I find driving the Teslas with all those options on the big screen a bit distracting at times especially when you have to change something while driving.You have to take off your eyes from the road.

That wonderful feature of EVs, the 1-pedal driving experience, is probably to blame. Driving slow into a spot, lift foot, car should stop.

Except when habit from ice cars has you thinking the car is just creeping and your foot is on the brake, except it isn’t, and you left the car in Ludicrous Speed.

I think this issue will go away, since the latest software update adds emergency breaking, will not allow the Tesla to impact another object ahead of it, along with Autopilot not allowing full acceleration when not on a freeway, and not allow the Tesla to impact another object ahead of it.

With so much instant torque and silent running in a Tesla, a simple peddle mistake in a combustion engine car, becomes a major catastrophe in a Tesla.

With the new software, if someone pressed the accelerator while sitting in front of anything(even a parking stop), the car should slowly creep to just before touching, then apply the brakes and give audio/visual warning.

It’s something to consider, but it would have to be fine tuned to recognize different situations. Not allowing you to accelerate toward a stationary object, for instance, but allowing acceleration in traffic(you wouldn’t want the car creeping there). But then again, with an advanced parking paradigm, the car can just park itself!

Context sensitive programming is required. Sitting in traffic the vehicle is in a specific GPS location pointed in a specific direction, with historical movement to work from, software would allow some sort of sudden acceleration.
Sitting in a driveway or in front of a building, GPS location, plus vehicle direction, plus there’s a freaking building in the camera view. Different context, sudden acceleration should be limited in some way.
This is a highly sophisticated vehicle with lots of sensors and processing capability. Tesla should have already determined causes of these sudden acceleration events, the context where they happen, and be working software update to help mitigate them.
Worst case scenario, give the car some self preservation. If it thinks it will crash, take some evasive action and prompt the driver of they want to override. No dispute of the vehicle crashes then, it is recorded that the driver opted in to the action.

It’s the drivers fault, buying low quality beta concept technology from a garage company

Irv, clean up in aisle five.

Yeah, so much worse that buying low-quality, 100-year-old, stagnant technology from an established corporation too lazy to innovate past the bottom-line.


Unwanted acceleration (even by mistake of the driver) could IMO be prevented software based: In an environment outside highways etc. or if driving very slowly, the driver would have to activate ‘fast acceleration’ before fast acceleration can take place, either by voice command or by touchscreen touch.

Sorry, but I don’t automatically buy any companies’ “we have investigated ourself and found we aren’t at fault” claim.

Certainly it is more likely that this was pedal misapplication than anything else. But to close the case already because Tesla says so is a bad idea.

It’s very disappointing that the law says that “black box” data from cars must be made available to the customer for use in court and Tesla states they don’t collect “black box” data. I would think they would refrain from trying to reference such data in the media if were going to claim they didn’t have it.

You are clearly confused. Tesla cars do indeed collect “black box” data. I think what you’re referring to is the fact that Tesla doesn’t collect such data wirelessly in real time; they must have physical access to the car to retrieve such data. That’s no different than an airliner’s “black box” recordings, so where’s the beef?

Just shows that you can find puffed-up, pompous jerks everywhere, even among Tesla Motors’ customers.

It seems pretty clear he won’t win this lawsuit. Here’s hoping he loses enough money on court costs and lawyers’ fees to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around him.

Just wait for the WHOMPY WHEELS class action.
That will be THE END.

The Terdsla DOES suffer from Unintended Acceleration.
It’s a badly made piece of shyte designed by geeks and slung together by stoners.

I think you misspelled your handle. It should be Mr Trolly.

While I doubt that this case has merit, Tesla drivers should own their own logs, and there should exist mechanisms to prevent tampering by either Tesla or the owner. They should be uploaded to escrow upon accident, and the rolling checksum signed by the cars public key. The private key should reside within a TPM.

Owners already own their own logs.

“In December 2015, the federal Driver Privacy Act of 2015 was enacted. It places limitations on data retrieval from EDRs and provides that information collected belongs to the owner or lessee of the vehicle.”


Do you somehow think this is an issue unique to Tesla? You are aware that well over 90% of cars all have EDR’s, right?

Testing Testing Testing.
Words that should have been heeded by Toyota Samsung Apple And Tesla. so before any blames the driver,
Don’t forget that Tesla autopilot Does Have failures, and played a part in Fatal crashes in China (11 months ago – not widely covered), and Florida elsewhere.

Pi Li said:

“Tesla autopilot… played a part in Fatal crashes [sic] in China…”

Correction: The family of one (just 1) victim of a fatal traffic accident in China claimed that Tesla Autopilot was in control of a car at the time of that accident, but did not offer any physical evidence for that, and refused to allow Tesla access to the data in the car.

Agreed that might be the only Fatal crash in China (reported), but if you saw that footage, any reasonable person would know that either the driver was totally not paying attention so if Autopilot was deployed, it would be a Severe Fail. Regardless, the misadvertising of that feature in China, and absolute refusal of Tesla to rename despite multi-government admonish to do so, will not win over any fans in China. Infinitely impossible with a Loudmouth incoming Pres Trump

His fault for accidentally stepping on the accelerator

I guess Tesla needs a self parking for dummy mode now..

Coming in the next update…

/sarcastic mode

Rather than blaming Mr. Son directly, I would have said “The person operating the vehicle”.

All these cases bring to mind the case of the AUDI 5000. Even though decades ago, and all the Lawyers decided it was a case of Brake and Accelerator ‘Pedal Confusion’ to the point of 100% LEGAL CERTITUDE, I never bought it. I don’t care what was adjudicated with that car: there was one case of the car barreling through the back of the garage to take a dip in the in ground pool, except the tires got hung up smoking and grinding down the concrete lip of the pool. – of course this was blamed on pedal confusion which is nonsense since you’d think through all of this the driver would have slightly moved his foot a bit through all of the commotion. NYC parking lot owners obviously didn’t buy it either – they just prohibited Audi 5000’s from parking there – one owner even expressly put up a sign at the entrance. I always felt safe in my Roadster, seeing as it had simplified controls. The 2011 VOLT I had, had plenty of minor ‘GM arrogance – annoyances’ which while I’m a big fan of the GEN 1 Volt, it is not a perfect car, and it suffered… Read more »