Who is Responsible When a Self-Driving Car Causes an Accident?

As years pass, technology improves. However, just as there is human error, a technological error is possible. This may lead to significant damage in the case of technology that people rely on for daily tasks. One example of this is self-driving cars. As the presence of self-driving, or autonomous, vehicles on the road increase, so do the car accidents associated with their technological systems. If you’ve been in a crash involving an autonomous vehicle, you may be wondering who is responsible when a self-driving car causes an accident. The answer may not be so straightforward. For legal advice about potential liability of your car accident, consider speaking with an experienced attorney. 

Autonomous Vehicles Versus Driver Assist Systems

The first point of analysis in determining who is responsible for a self-driving car accident is often whether the vehicle is truly autonomous or if it simply contains a driver-assist system. The differences are small but significant. First, a driver assist system in a car is considered one that augments the driving experience. This includes aids in ways such as providing lane departure warnings, parking assistance, collision avoidance, and blind spot detection. It is meant to help the driver who has full control of the vehicle. This differs from an autonomous vehicle, as those do not require any human assistance to operate the vehicle. It makes decisions and responds to scenarios in real time.

How Liability is Determined in an Autonomous Car Accident

Determining liability in any type of car accident is often complicated. The addition of an autonomous vehicle adds a layer of complexity in identifying who is at fault for the accident. Many factors play a role in determining liability. These include: 

  • Personal Statements

As with any typical car accident, the insurance companies involved will require statements from you, the other driver, and potentially from witnesses. These statements will be analyzed in conjunction with the evidence at the scene and police reports. Personal statements may help insurance companies get a better understanding of what transpired at the scene. 

  • Presence of Product Defaults

If there is an autonomous vehicle involved in an accident, it’s likely that the insurance companies involved will request an analysis of the electronic control modules within the vehicles. This may help them identify whether there was some sort of driver error or car error. In the case of a car error or product defect, the fault for the accident may shift towards the manufacturer itself. 

  • Negligent Drivers

Even if the driver’s vehicle had autonomous driving capabilities, if the driver was not utilizing this functionality, they may still be held liable for the collision. This is especially true if the driver was being negligent. Negligence may also include failing to maintain the autonomous vehicle and receive necessary vehicle servicing. 

Work With an Attorney Today

When you are involved in a car accident, especially one involving a self-driving car, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed with your insurance claim. By working with an experienced attorney, you can be sure that you are following all the necessary steps to receive as much financial relief as possible. The attorneys at the Law Office of Scott Righthand can guide you throughout the entirety of your accident case. To schedule a consultation with us, contact us today to begin your claim.

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Date Of Posting

11 January,2023

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