Who's Responsible in a Self-Driving Car Accident?

As engineering, computers, AI, and other technologies advance, it has become clear that self-driving cars are inevitable. Our personal injury attorneys will be examining who could be held liable if a self-driving car causes an accident that injures a human.

In February of 2016, Google’s self-driving car crashed into the side of a bus while driving on El Camino Real in California. The car’s computer detected sandbags around a storm drain and swerved into the next lane to avoid hitting them. In doing so, the car crashed into the side of a public transit bus. Thankfully, no one was injured, but in the wake of the accident, manufacturers, engineers, and legal experts are tasked with the responsibility of determining who will be liable in a car accident.

Tort law regarding liability currently permits drivers to file for compensation from manufacturers if they were injured by a defect in the vehicle. This current liability law could be applied to automated driving features, meaning a manufacturer could be held responsible for automated car accidents or injuries. In fact, some manufacturers have already announced to the public that they plan to take responsibility if their autonomous cars are involved in a car accident.

Even if manufacturers accept liability for their self-driving cars, drivers will still be required to purchase car insurance. However, this new technology could require legal experts to rethink collision insurance, especially when examining comparative negligence. What percentage at-fault is the driver, the computer and the third party involved? Was the autonomous car acting reasonably?

One thing is certain, as consumers begin the widespread adoption of the autonomous cars, legislators will be forced to interpret or change existing laws to accommodate this new technology. Check out our page on car accident liability in New York for more information.

Categories: Car Accidents, In the News