Florida man was burned to death in Tesla following crash because door wouldn't open, family files lawsuit

Dr Omar Awan, 48, an anesthesiologist, was killed when his Tesla crashed and caught fire near Fort Lauderdale in February

Florida man was burned to death in Tesla following crash because door wouldn't open, family files lawsuit
(Source : Getty Images)
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The family of a Florida man is suing Tesla over its futuristic door handles after he was killed in a burning car crash in his Model S, saying the design "prevented first responders from pulling the victim" out of the car. 

Dr Omar Awan, 48, an anesthesiologist, was killed when his Tesla crashed near Fort Lauderdale in February, reports ABC Local 10.

Almost immediately after the crash, a police officer arrived at the scene, but wasn't able to rescue Awan before the vehicle became engulfed in flames.

A view of a Tesla Model S at the 2018 Nantucket Film Festival - Day 5 on June 24, 2018, in Nantucket, Massachusetts. (Getty Images)

The vehicle's door handles were retracted and didn't "auto-present" when the cop arrived, according to a wrongful death lawsuit that was filed by Awan's family last week.

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The officer was unable to save Awan because Tesla's high-tech handles failed to work, the family alleges.

"Fire engulfed the car and burned Dr Awan beyond recognition — all because the Model S has inaccessible door handles, no other way to open the doors, and unreasonably dangerous fire risk," the lawsuit reads.

Speaking to police, witnesses in Davie, Florida, said the car was traveling at 75-90mph before it left the road for "an unknown reason."

The car slid across three lanes after the driver over-corrected and crashed into some trees in the median.

Awan reportedly died of smoke inhalation, per the suit, and did not have any broken bones or internal injuries from the crash.

However, his family is now seeking more than $15,000 in damages.

Tesla released a statement at the time, saying it was deeply saddened by the crash.

"We understand that speed is being investigated as a factor in this crash, and know that high-speed collisions can result in a fire in any type of car, not just electric vehicles," the company said.

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That said, Tesla's battery reportedly reignited twice as the vehicle was being towed to a salvage yard.

According to a statement by the manufacturer on their website, fires can take up to 24 hours to extinguish and that first responders should consider letting the battery burn while limiting exposure to buildings.

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