- A 5-year-old in Ukraine got her finger crushed in the door of a Tesla. It took two hours for emergency crews to wrest her finger from the Model X door, WLS-TV’s Dan Noyes first reported.
- Her finger was caught in a small black device called the “ice breaker,” which has a hole big enough to fit a small finger or pencil. The ice breaker is not present in any Tesla owners manual, and many salespeople don’t even know about it, according to WLS-TV.The ice breaker is apparently designed to help open the door in case it gets stuck in very cold weather.
- The family of the 5-year-old sued Tesla in San Jose federal court. Tesla is asking the court to dismiss the case and says it is not at fault for the finger crushing.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The family of a 5-year-old girl in Ukraine is suing Tesla over an injury they say the child suffered as a result of a device built into the door of a Model X SUV, WLS-TV’s Dan Noyes reported.
The family alleges that the child’s finger was caught in a small black device called the “ice breaker,” which has a hole big enough to fit a small finger or pencil. Her father, Marlen Izzetov, owns the Tesla.
The family sued Tesla in San Jose federal court. Tesla, which did not respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment, has filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the suit and said in email correspondence with the family’s attorney that it was not at fault for the finger crushing.
-ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) October 3, 2019
The ice breaker appears to be designed to help open the door in case it gets stuck in very cold weather.
The ice breaker is not present in any Tesla owners manual, and many salespeople don’t even know about it, The San Francisco-based attorney Dan Tan, who is representing the family in court, said, according to WLS-TV.
“What happens is that on all Model Xs, apparently under certain circumstances, this latch retracts into the frame of the door,” Tan told Business Insider. “But if anything is put in there, it’s essentially crushed.”
He added, “This is not something you see in any other car or form of transportation.”
-Greg Furstenwerth (@Stealthwater) October 2, 2019
In response to the WLS-TV report, a Tesla owner named Greg Furstenwerth shared on Twitter that he tried using the ice breaker and a screwdriver got caught in the device. “This is something that is a oversight for sure,” Furstenwerth said on Twitter.
It took two hours for emergency crews to wrest the 5-year-old’s finger from the Model X door, and her fingertip was ultimately broken.
According to a September complaint filed by Tesla in the US District Court in San Jose, several factors may explain why this Model X crushed the child’s finger:
- Izzetov, the owner of the Tesla and father of the victim, bought the vehicle used from a third party, “so we cannot rule out the possibility of any damages and/or aftermarket modifications to the vehicle that may have contributed to the incident,” McCarthy wrote.
- Tesla doesn’t conduct business in Russia, Ukraine, or the Czech Republic. McCarthy wrote “(W)e don’t support vehicles in those regions and there is no warranty applicable there, bearing on those claims in your draft
In an email exchange between Tan and Tesla’s legal counsel, which Tan shared with Business Insider, Tesla’s attorney also asserts that the vehicle involved in the finger-crushing incident was in a prior collision.
Still, while Tan claims in the email that the Model X is “dangerous,” Tesla’s legal counsel rebutted that assertion and blamed the child and her parents for the injury.
“Our retracting door latch assembly, in ‘normal use,’ functions without issue multiple times per day, per vehicle,” McCarthy wrote in the November email. “Indeed, the latch functions thousands of times per day across the applicable fleet with no other notice of an injury besides your client.
“That your client stuck her finger in the latch mechanism doesn’t reveal a defect in the latch but rather an unfortunate and regrettable decision on her part and/or failure of oversight on the part of the adults in the area,” he added.
Tesla referenced the Model X’s five-star safety rating it received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a statement to WLS-TV, but provided no other comment about the case, Noyes said.
Despite his daughter’s injury, Izzetov told WLS-TV that he intends to buy another Tesla Model X for his wife.