With auto manufacturers and technology companies working together to create self-driving cars, the idea of this type of vehicle being on the road brings up a number of new questions and concerns. One of the most important questions related to driverless cars is related to issues of liability in the event of a car accident. If a collision occurs between a human-driven car and a self-driving vehicle, who is going to be responsible for the car accident that occurs?
Assigning Fault in a Driverless Car Accident
In some cases, it may be easy to determine who was at fault, or to automatically blame the human driver. For example, if they were violating traffic laws or driving recklessly, then they are obviously going to be at fault. However, even in these situations, the argument could be made the driverless cars are designed to recognize certain hazards and implement the proper measures to avoid collisions.
The circumstances that are extremely challenging are the ones that involve self-driving vehicles that are at fault. If the programming of the vehicle has been designed to give control to the human driver if the circumstances are beyond what the computer can handle, then is the person considered to be “driving” the driverless vehicle actually at fault? Or, is the manufacturer of the self-driving technology or the vehicle itself liable for accidents caused by the product?
Legal Methods of Assigning Liability in Driverless Car Accidents
Vehicles that are fully driverless may wind up being treated like an automatic elevator. If there is no human operator, then the technology – as well as the company that created it – would be the only actor that is capable of bearing the responsibility if a collision were to occur. As a result, fleets of completely automated Uber vehicles would be regarded the same way the first automatic elevators would as “common carriers” by the court. As a result, the manufacturers would be held to a high duty of care to ensure safe service was always provided.
However, what complicates the matter of liability further is the fact that the technology used to power these vehicles is extremely complex. As a result, it is difficult to isolate and find the issue that resulted in the crash. Because of this, determining what or who is at fault is often a very gray area.
Hire an Attorney to Help You
If you are ever involved in an accident with a driverless vehicle and you know the collision was not due to your action or inaction while on the road, then you need to hire a car accident attorney to help you file a lawsuit. A qualified and experienced attorney will be able to provide you with the representation you need to help you recover the compensation you deserve.