Who is at Fault for Self-Driving Car Accidents?

Categories: Car Accident

blackfin self driving car

Georgia’s Self-Driving Car Accident Attorneys

Self-driving cars are starting to make their way to the consumer market. While they say they are safer than human-driven vehicles, what if those self-driving cars cause an accident? Who is to blame? Would it be the manufacturer? Retailer? Owner?

This new technology has certainly created a plethora of legal issues when it comes to determining liability after an automobile accident. And, the more these vehicles start entering the roads, the more likely there are going to be accidents, and claims involving self-driving cars.

Understanding Liability

Self-driving cars will start at the designer level for liability. Manufacturers may disagree on the level of human involvement with these vehicles, but if the vehicle was defective in some way, the manufacturer (not the vehicle’s “driver”) would be at fault.

On the other hand, some manufacturers have stated that self-driving cars can still result in accidents that are caused by human error. Some vehicles do require that the driver is engaged, even if they aren’t actually driving the vehicle.

Currently, drivers and vehicle owners are liable for accidents, and insurance companies will pay the claims. But, self-driving vehicles may involve multiple parties and can change negligent actions into a complex product liability claim in an instant.

Only catastrophic cases would likely result in an automobile accident lawsuit, because the sheer number (and costs) of experts required would be extensive. An expert would be required to determine if it was the vehicle to blame or if it was the driver. Also, an expert would have to recreate the scene and decide who was really at-fault. The costs of litigating could quickly exceed the damage award.

Potential Solutions

One solution could be through regulations. The government, however, has not yet caught up with the technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently developing a safe vehicle automation plan and creating guidelines for self-driving vehicles as well as their manufacturers. Their hope is to dispel the issue of liability and make it clear as to who is responsible for what actions on these cars.

Also, it may be simpler to hold manufacturers liable for these accidents. Some manufacturers, including Google and Volvo, actually support this theory. They have all pledged to accept liability if their self-driving vehicles were to cause an accident and result in injuries.

Not all manufacturers agree with this, however. Those vehicles that still depend on human intervention deny liability and state that the human driver must be held responsible – not the manufacturer.

What Do I Do If I’m Injured by a Self-Driving Vehicle?

The rules and laws are complex in this situation, and there are not yet enough cases to create a precedent. If you have been injured in an auto accident with a self-driving car, you need to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact The Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C. today to explore your options by calling 912-200-5292 or request your appointment online.