With car electric car manufactures making significant headway on the road to developing self-driving cars with advanced auto-pilot systems, there will be some very significant questions to explore regarding liability in the event of a self-driving car accident. These questions which have been posed by people on all sides of the debate including legal professionals, manufacturers, and potential customers are of the utmost importance as they will have long-term implications that will impact both drivers and car manufactures. While the answers to those questions are still being debated, here are a few things to know about self-driving car accidents that may help provide some more clarity on the subject.
As with any car accident, the success or failure of the personal injury claim will rest on the ability of the attorneys to determine which party is at fault for the accident. In a normal typical case involving two human drivers, fault can be placed on either or both drivers who are behind the wheel but this becomes more complicated when discussing self-driving technology as there are numerous parties who may be at fault. Of course, there are the drivers, the owners of the vehicle, the manufacturers, and the software developers who created the car’s computers and sensors to name a few. In these situations, it can be difficult to determine if there is only a single party at fault or multiple parties at fault.
It is unlikely that auto manufacturers such as Tesla will accept liability of a self-driving car accident without clear proof of manufacturer failure leading to the accident. In previous cases involving self-driving cars, car manufacturers such as Tesla have denied responsibility for accidents. Proving that self-driving car manufacturers are at-fault for accidents involving their vehicles would require significant proof of wide-spread failures from their products which may not be likely.
If the computer fails and causes an accident, is the driver absolved of liability?
Despite the presumed ability of a vehicle to slow down, brake, or change lanes with the guidance of computerized sensors, it does not mean that the driver is relieved of responsibility while driving. In fact, drivers are encouraged to remain focused on the road and ready to react if the vehicle’s computers fail to respond appropriately to oncoming traffic or pedestrians. In the case of reported self-driving car accidents, such as notable case that occurred in Florida in 2016 involving a Tesla Model S and a semi-truck, the driver failed to brake in the seconds leading up to the fatal accident even though the driver should have been able to see the potential danger for up to 7 seconds before the accident.
If you are involved in car accident involving a self-driving car, whether you are a passenger in the vehicle or not, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Our law firm offers a free guide outlining the top 5 things to do when you’re in an accident. You can download this guide and keep in your glove box. You’ll be glad you have it when you need it most!
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