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Who is Responsible When a Self-Driving Car Causes an Accident?

The more that technology advances, the more autonomous vehicle manufacturers are on the rise. In the last few years, self-driving vehicles have increased significantly in number. However, how can we know that all these vehicles are truly safe and will not lead to accidents or injuries? The truth is, we can’t. Unfortunately, accidents do occur with autonomous driving, both due to driver and manufacturer faults. Victims of self-driving car accidents may be eligible for financial compensation if the accident was determined to be caused by another person’s negligence. Learn more about liability claims in self-driving auto accidents below. 

Autonomous Driving Versus Driver Assist Systems

Autonomous driving accidents are complex. These vehicles are manufactured to drive themselves through complex technology like road recognition software. Driver-assist systems, on the other hand, are not fully self-driving vehicles. They are made to help drivers in either driving or parking functions by the use of sensors and cameras to detect nearby obstacles. The difference between an autonomous driving system and a driver-assist system is grounded in how autonomous systems allow vehicle operation without the direct control of a human. If an accident occurs in a car using a driver-assisted system, it is likely the driver who is at fault since they must remain under control. However, with autonomous systems, this becomes more complex. Both driver and system may be to blame, depending on a variety of factors. 

Personal Versus Manufacturer Liability

Determining whether a person or the manufacturer of the autonomous driving vehicle is liable for an accident is a complex process. In a typical driving accident case, the fault is typically solely that of one individual driver and is established through driver statements, police reports, and possible witnesses. With an autonomous vehicle, all the same analytics may be used to determine fault. However, a technical analysis of the electronic control modules in the vehicle will likely be conducted. This can help identify whether there was an error with the vehicle itself or if the driver made a mistake. Another barrier to determining liability is the insurance of the manufacturer. They are often knowledgeable in how to pressure and manipulate the driver to attempt to prove that the driver is at fault rather than themselves. It is up to the insurance companies to prove negligence after identifying liability in an autonomous accident case. 

How Negligence is Established

There are many classifications to determine whether the driver or the manufacturer was negligent. If a driver was negligent, this can be proven if they are deemed liable for the accident. Examples of driver negligence in autonomous driving accidents include reckless and distracted driving, failure to obey traffic laws, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, negligence in the case of manufacturer liability may include if they were cognizant of defective systems or whether the company knew that a potential complication may arise if the system wasn’t operated correctly and no notice was given. Establishing negligence may be difficult, and an experienced attorney may help. 

Hire an Auto Accident Attorney

The claims and insurance process for auto accidents is complex, especially for those involving autonomous vehicles. To review your case and determine your eligibility to file a lawsuit against a potentially negligent automobile company, hire an experienced attorney. The lawyers at Brassfield & Kreuger, Ltd. will be with you each and every step of the way to guide you through the claims process. To schedule a consultation and meet us today, contact us and discuss your case further.

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