Tesla’s Door Handles Blamed For Man’s Death In Fiery Crash

What to Know

  • The lawsuit, which was filed in Broward County circuit court, alleges that Tesla batteries are prone to unique types of fire risks.

  • The lawsuit also alleges that the design of Tesla’s door handles were a major factor in Omar Awan’s death.

The widow of a man who was killed when flames engulfed the Tesla he was driving has filed a lawsuit against the company.

The lawsuit alleges that Tesla batteries are prone to unique types of fire risks, and that the Tesla Model S’s “inaccessible door handles” prevented Omar Awan from exiting the vehicle when it erupted into flames.

Liliana Awan is suing Tesla Motors, Inc. and Tesla Florida, Inc. following the fatal crash, which happened in February. Police said Omar Awan veered out of control on a parkway in Davie, swerved into the median and hit some palm trees before the car burst into flames. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The lawsuit alleges that Awan died from smoke inhalation while locked in the burning vehicle.

“After the Tesla hit the tree, he was alive. He had no internal injuries or broken bones,” the lawsuit said. “He died from the smoke he inhaled as he sat locked inside the Tesla.”

The lawsuit, filed in Broward County circuit court last week, also claims police were unable to enter the Tesla due to the design of the door handles.

“These Model S defects and others rendered it a death trap,” the lawsuit said, adding that Tesla “failed to warn users about the scope and extent of the defective and unreasonably dangerous conditions of the Model S.”

The family of Awan, a 48-year-old anesthesiologist, is seeking more than $15,000 in damages.

In May, two teenagers died in a crash when the Tesla Model S they were in crashed and caught fire in Fort Lauderdale. Authorities say they were traveling at 116 mph.

NBC 6 has reached out to Tesla for comment regarding the incident. Please check back for more updates.

This is a developing story and will be updated. Please check back for more updates.