Who is liable for personal injury and damages when a driverless car is involved in an auto accident?
Advanced technology has made vehicles safer than ever. Manufacturers of driverless cars have been claiming that their vehicles reduce the risk of accident by eliminating the possibility of human error. Driverless cars use sensors, algorithms, and computer programs to automatically respond to traffic conditions. Driverless cars are able to interpret data about obstacles around it and respond appropriately to these obstacles in order to prevent a crash. Driverless cars are never affected by fatigue, drowsiness, inebriation, distraction, and other such factors common to their human counterparts.
According to experts, driverless cars are capable of reducing the number of car crashes significantly. However, driverless cars are not on our streets due to the slow development of legislation. A major hurdle that is holding up widespread adoption of these cars is the issue of liability. If a driverless car gets into a crash, who will be liable? Unlike the case of traditional vehicle accidents in which authorities consider the liability of both drivers involved, this is not possible in a driverless car.
Deciding Liability in Driverless Car Accidents
Google and Volvo have announced that they would accept liability in case their driverless cars get involved in accidents. However, it is important to note that the manufacturers of driverless cars would accept liability only if a design flaw or manufacturing defect caused the crash.
If the user of the car modifies it or uses it not as intended, the owner would be liable for any resulting accident. If a third-party is responsible for causing the car accident, the third-party would be liable. However, it is still unclear whether or not the courts would automatically accept manufacturer liability in case of a driverless car accident.
Human Factors in Driverless Car Accidents
Driverless cars have a manual mode, which means humans can operate the car as needed. The human factor cannot be completely eliminated when deciding liability in a car accident claim. When driving in manual mode, a driver can make an error and cause an accident. In addition, other vehicles can also cause a crash, such as a rear-end collision, when the driverless car is stopped in a parking lot or at a traffic light. Of the 48 driverless cars that have been adopted in California, four were involved in crashes over the past couple of years. Manufacturers termed these accidents as minor fender benders.
Chicago Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured by a negligent driver, contact a Chicago car accident attorney from Willens & Baez. Call us at (312) 957-4166 for a free consultation.