Self-Driving Car Accidents
As Macon car accident attorneys, we’ve worked on a lot of car accident claims, helping victims ensure that they are on the road to recovery, and have what they need. However, technology is changing the landscape, especially when it comes to innovations like self-driving cars. Still, these vehicles are sometimes involved in accidents, so how can you determine liability in these types of accidents?
In any accident claim, the victim will first have to establish that the defendant owed them a duty of care, that was breached, there was injury and damages sustained as a result. The courts use this ‘assigning of fault’ to determine what amount of compensation the victim should recover. Therefore, the question in self-driving car accident scenarios becomes: How does recovery translate to a car that ‘has no driver,’ so to speak?
Humans Still Liable
Although they are called “driverless cars,” in fact, there is still a human operator aspect to these vehicles. To date, someone must still be behind the wheel to navigate the vehicle; “driverless” simply refers to the vehicle being more autonomous than most cars. With the exception of a manufacturing-related problem that can cause accidents, it is the responsibility of this human operator to ensure that the vehicle is operating safely, and to intervene if risks arise. As a result, if they make a wrong move, so to speak, or fail to take action to intervene and prevent an accident, this human operator can be held liable in the same way any other car driver can be.
Tesla Recall: Product Liability & Advanced Software Concerns
Product liability, as applied practically, can be a little more complicated with these vehicles in that the problem can either be due to a dysfunctional part, or, in this case, due to a design or technology defect, in which case additional parties can be held responsible for any resulting injuries in a crash.
Case in point: More than 350,000 Tesla vehicles were recently recalled due to faulty self-driving software that could have been linked to a number of car accidents. Specifically, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), those vehicles with “full self-driving beta software” could be prone to errors and thus being involved in car accidents. Specifically, the NHTSA warns that, as a result of the error, these vehicles have the propensity to travel right through intersections in turn-only lanes, drive through stop signs, and enter intersections against the light, without first braking. The software also reportedly sometimes fails to respond to changes in speed limits, or even respond to the human operator trying to slow down the vehicle.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you or a loved one has been in any kind of accident, speaking with an experienced accident attorney right away is critical. Contact our Macon, Georgia personal injury and car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Buzzell, Welsh & Hill today for a free consultation to find out how we can help.