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Who Would Be Held Liable in A Driverless Vehicle Accident?

The future is full of exciting innovations that are meant to make our roads a safer place. Now, vehicles can come equipped with things such as blind spot monitors and back up cameras. Other developments include driverless cars. Self-driving cars have life-saving potential. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles reports that human error causes almost 90 percent of all car accident injuries. Putting self-driving vehicles on the road would be a complete game changer. That being said, nothing is infallible. Even driverless vehicles will be involved in car accidents. The question is, who will be held liable when a driverless vehicle is responsible for causing a car accident that results in injuries? Attorney Michael LoGiudice is at the forefront in investigating new legal developments that can have big impacts on his client. If you have been injured in a car accident, whether it was a driver-assisted car, a driverless car, or a standard person-driven car, Attorney LoGiudice is here to fight for you.

Who Would Be Held Liable in A Driverless Vehicle Accident?

Whoever is established as the responsible party for causing an accident will be liable for paying the damages of the injured person. Usually, there is driver error that causes a car accident and that driver will be held liable. However, with driverless cars in our futures, this will not always be the case. If a driverless car was found to be responsible for causing a crash, liability will likely fall with the company who manufactured the vehicle. The claim would fall into the category of products liability.

If a company puts a product into circulation that is unsafe, and that unsafe product causes injury, you can hold the company liable through a products liability claim. Products liability claims can be based on three different things:

  • Defective design: There was something wrong with the design of the product that made it unsafe for use.
  • Manufacturing defect: There was something wrong with a specific part of the product that made it unsafe for use.
  • Failure to warn: The company producing the product failed in their legal duty to inform consumers of the safety risks associated with the product.

The question as to who is liable for a car accident is further complicated when you take into account that cars, before becoming completely driverless, may be driver-assisted vehicles. This means that the car has some self-driving features, but is not completely driverless capable. For accidents involving a driver-assisted vehicle, the analysis will come down to whether it was human error on the part of the driver, or whether there was something wrong with the vehicle, that ended up causing the accident.

On May 7, 2016, there was a fatal accident involving a driver-assisted Tesla vehicle in northern Florida. The driver of the vehicle had his hands off of the steering wheel on autopilot mode when he crashed into an 18-wheeler at a high speed. While the self-driving feature of the vehicle was implicated in the crash, Tesla was eventually cleared from liability. The autopilot mode was only semi-autonomous technology, meaning that liability still rested with the driver of the vehicle. If something had gone wrong with the autopilot mode such as if it had malfunctioned and caused the crash or if Tesla had failed to warn consumers that they were still liable for safely operating the vehicle even when it was on autopilot, then the liability analysis may have had a different conclusion.

Handling Complex Personal Injury Claims to Make Sure Victims Are Properly Compensated.

Liability is often one of the most complex issues to deal with in a personal injury claim. With the advances in vehicle technology, the liability analysis is looking to have new levels of complexity develop. Attorney Michael LoGiudice will adeptly handle all of the complicated legal issues that may arise in your personal injury claim. He will tirelessly work to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.