Tesla reached a $13 million settlement with a former contract worker who was left permanently disabled after being struck by a Model S while on the job

elon muskLucy Nicholson / Reuters

  • Tesla reached a $13 settlement on May 10 with former contractor Teodora Tapia, who was "permanently disabled" after being hit by a Model S sedan, according to Parris Law Firm, which represented Tapia.
  • A Tesla representative told Business Insider that Joseph Aguilar, who was driving the Model S that hit Tapia, was an employee of West Valley Staffing Group, which the representative said "will pay the bulk of the settlement."
  • West Valley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
  • The incident left Tapia with "serious and permanent injuries to her lower extremities and body," according to a lawsuit against Tesla.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Tesla reached a $13 settlement on May 10 with former contractor Teodora Tapia, who was "permanently disabled" after being hit by a Model S sedan, according to Parris Law Firm, which represented Tapia.

A Tesla representative told Business Insider that Joseph Aguilar, who was driving the Model S that hit Tapia, was an employee of West Valley Staffing Group, which the representative said "will pay the bulk of the settlement." But in an April 26 court filing, Tesla agreed that it shared liability for Aguilar's conduct with West Valley.

"We care deeply about the safety and well-being of everyone who works at Tesla's facilities, whether they are a contractor or Tesla employee," the Tesla representative said.

West Valley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more: Tesla factory workers took twice as many days off last year than in 2017 because of injury or sickness

Tapia, a former employee of Flagship Facility Services, was working as a janitor at Tesla's vehicle-assembly plant in Fremont, California, in August 2014 when she was hit by a Model S, according to a lawsuit against the electric-car maker.

Aguilar was attempting to move a European version of the Model S to a different part of a Tesla warehouse, but was not certified to drive it, Parris Law Firm said in a statement. The incident left Teodora with "serious and permanent injuries to her lower extremities and body," according to the lawsuit. Parris Law firm described the injuries as a permanent disability.

"While Teodora will never be the same, this settlement will help provide for her ongoing care and the needs of her family," Parris Law Firm attorney Khail Parris said in the statement. "Tesla must take greater care for its employees in the future, but we're relieved our client will be able to care for herself for many years to come."

Injury statistics and reports from media outlets have raised questions about worker safety at Tesla's factories, though concerns about workplace safety are not unique to Tesla in the auto industry.

Tesla received more citations from OSHA related to vehicle manufacturing than Ford, General Motors, or Fiat Chrysler from 2017 through the end of 2018. Reports from Reveal published in 2018 claimed that Tesla misreported workplace injuries, avoided using safety markings for aesthetic reasons, and failed to give injured employees proper medical care.

Tesla has denied that it has misreported workplace injuries and failed to use safety markings for aesthetic reasons. The automaker did not respond to requests for comment on the allegation that it failed to give injured employees proper medical treatment.

Have you worked for Tesla? Do you have a story to share? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

Get the latest Tesla stock price here.

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