Liability When Injured in a Driverless Car Crash
It’s hard to believe, but completely autonomous vehicles are right around the corner. The future is upon us and it brings with it a heap of legal questions. Most notably, if no one is driving the car, who is liable for a driverless car accident in Los Angeles?
The proponents of self-driving cars claim they will make driving more efficient, alleviate traffic congestion, and dramatically reduce accidents by taking humans out of the driving equation. To the last point, the Department of Transportation indicates 94 percent of vehicle accidents are caused by human error behind the wheel. While autonomous vehicles may very well reduce accidents, one thing is for certain and that is that automation cannot eliminate every single accident. You can look at the aviation, train, and shipping industries to see that automated systems do often fail.
So, when the day comes when we live in a driverless car society and an accident occurs, who will be made responsible for such accidents? Who will bear the burden of insuring these cars? Who will bear the costs of the injuries that autonomous vehicles cause?
To answer these questions, we have to shift our thinking to a future society that does not yet exist, but will someday sooner than we think. Driverless cars will rely heavily on software developers to provide the necessary technology for these cars to operate themselves. Roadways that are currently filled with stop signs, traffic signals, speed limit signs, and other information that communicate with a human driver will undoubtedly be replaced with computers and sensors that communicate with the car itself.
Now, with that in mind, the other major shift, according to an NPR article, is that the manufacturer of the car will most likely carry the insurance for the car instead of you. This logic is consistent with product liability law, which, in short, demands that the manufacturer provide a reasonably safe product to consumers and if they don’t, then they are responsible for the injuries those products cause.
What this means for you is that your redress will be against the manufacturer in the form of a products liability lawsuit that will involve, at the root, an investigation of the accident and why it occurred. A big difference with self-driving cars, however, is that there will likely be far more data stored in and outside of the car that will tell investigators precisely what happened.
Not only will autonomous vehicles change the way we get around, but they will also change the legal landscape. What is certain, though, is that if you’re injured or a loved one is killed in a driverless car accident, you will need a powerhouse law firm that already has 30 years of experience handling all sorts of car accident injury claims as well as product liability claims against auto manufacturers to champion your case.
If you’ve been injured in a driverless car accident or because of a driver-assisted feature in your current vehicle, please do not hesitate to call us at 800-818-1818 to speak to an experienced auto accident injury lawyer.