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Self-Driving Car Accident - The Injury Firm

Over the years, we’ve seen some incredible advancements in technology. In the past two decades alone, the world has moved forward at a faster rate than ever before and this has led to smartphones, tablets, artificial intelligence, and even self-driving cars. With the latter, there are now vehicles that require no driver to be on the road. While this sounds amazing initially, there are still some problems that occur.

Unfortunately, as driverless cars start to make their way onto the market, collisions and fatalities are occurring at an alarming rate. While automakers may play them down, the number of incidents involving autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles is a cause for concern.

If you’ve been involved in an accident with one of these vehicles, whether it has semi-autonomous features or requires no driver at all, you might want to consider an attorney to present you within this up-and-coming section of law. Considering the laws are still being developed, you need a service who knows the current state of the industry.

Lawsuits and Settlements - Whenever a car accident involves a vehicle of this type, it brings up some unique questions. With semi-autonomous vehicles, was the driver or the car in control at the moment of the accident? Was it a driver decision or the artificial intelligence that caused the incident? Was it even a combination of the two? Who is to blame in an incident involving a driverless vehicle? Can the driver still be at-fault when they’re essentially a passenger?

At The Injury Firm, we can answer all these questions and a whole lot more. With a simple phone call to us today, we can provide the answers and set your case up in the best position for the right compensation.

Safety of Crash Avoidance Technology - According to automakers all around the industry, putting self-driving vehicles onto the roads will significantly reduce the number of accidents. By 2050, some companies have even predicted a decrease of up to 90% so this is seen as the solution for the future. With the many technological advancements we’re seeing each year, automated crash avoidance systems are improving and this includes blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warnings, adaptive headlights, forward-collision warnings, and automatic brakes. Each year, it seems as though bigger and better systems are developed.

However, many experts say we’re still very much in the early days of ‘self-driving’ which makes the term itself a little misleading. Instead, they feel the terms ‘driver-assisted’ or ‘partially-automated’ are more appropriate. While this might not seem like an important argument, experts say using these terms will allow the consumer to know its limitations rather than placing too much trust in the models.

In terms of removing accidents from the road completely, this is wholly unrealistic over this transition period which could last as much as 20 years. For the next period of our lives, the roads will be shared by traditional and driverless cars which makes it harder than perhaps a straight switch. While the transition takes place, some experts believe the accident rate could increase before then falling.

FAQs for Attorneys

  • Where does the responsibility fall when a driverless vehicle causes an accident? Is it the car or the car owner?
  • Who’s responsible for medical bills after an incident with a self-driving vehicle?
  • What’s going wrong in the driverless cars to cause collisions when this should be nearly impossible?
  • Would it be possible to sue the manufacturer of the self-driving vehicle after causing a car crash?
  • Is there a special insurance policy required for those with driverless cars?

Top 10 Causes of Accidents

  • Technology in the vehicle can fail to recognize and react to unexpected road conditions; this could occur when construction workers or police are directing the traffic.
  • Extreme weather conditions can make the painted road lines invisible which renders the sensors entirely useless; not enough information will be gathered to react appropriately.
  • Damage on the rear can lead to a distortion of the sensors to the point where they can’t read the road properly. Suddenly, the vehicle doesn’t have enough information to make the correct decisions.
  • Just as we see with traditional cars, the vehicle could experience a mechanical failure whenever it isn't maintained or when issues aren't corrected.
  • Malfunctions in the system software or even a small glitch could cause issues and prevent the technology from doing its job. When travelling at high speed, this is especially dangerous.
  • Since autonomous vehicles absolutely need GPS for mapping, a lack of updates or taking the vehicle out of range leaves the car owner suddenly stranded.
  • For sensors and cameras to work, they require a clear line of sight and there are many factors that can prevent this including the changing angles of sunlight. Suddenly, lane markings, pedestrians, and street signs are impossible to read.
  • Hackers could potentially get into the system and take control of the vehicle.
  • Sadly, there are criminals and terrorists who could weaponize the vehicles and cause havoc without having to worry about driving the car.
  • Drivers could also gain a false sense of security which leads to increased risk-taking among other problems.

When it comes to autonomous vehicles, an extensive list of technology companies and automakers are investing heavily including Ford, BMW, Google, Uber, Hyundai, Audi, Tesla Autopilot Mode, GM EN-V, Volvo DriveMe, Nissan ProPILOT, Honda (semi-autonomous), Apple GoMentum, and Mercedes Benz.

In fact, Mercedes Benz recently broke into new ground after creating the first ever semi-autonomous big-rig truck. For the majority of automakers, they’ve already spoken of a future without brake pedals, steering wheels, and other features that have been the foundation of our vehicles for so long.

Driverless Laws - With the technology quickly developing, state and federal organizations are always working on the many regulations and guidelines for all owners of autonomous vehicles. In an attempt to reduce the accidents we’re seeing, many organizations have been contributing to this including the US Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology.

With the NHTSA, they’ve created federal guidelines which lay out conditions for testing and releasing autonomous vehicles. For the most part, this allows manufacturers to experiment as they wish but they must get the approval of the safety regulator before the models are released to the public.

For many states, they’ve managed to create some laws with self-driving cars. Interestingly, some have chosen to draft regulations that require even fully-autonomous vehicles to have a driver behind the wheel. Furthermore, there has been conversations regarding the requirement of special training before owning an autonomous vehicle. For the manufacturers of such cars, they’ve hit back at these ideas suggesting it would slow progress for the whole country.

Responsibility of Accidents - Earlier, we brought up the issue of finding liability in accidents involving a self-driving car so how does it work? Regardless of how the vehicles work and who’s operating them, every single one on the road requires insurance to cover losses, damages, and any harm resulting from an incident. For all victims of an incident involving a driverless car, they have the right to claim as normal and insurance will very much vary from one state to the next. Since every state differs for insurance rules, they also differ for self-driving cars.

With auto insurance companies, they’re currently basing rates on the vehicle, the driver, and the residential area of the owner. If there’s no human driver for the vehicle, it still needs insurance but the companies will use other factors to provide quotes including average climatic conditions, traffic patterns, and the history of the technologies used in the vehicle.

When an accident occurs, it can be tough to find the specific piece of technology responsible. Therefore, the claims often vary for each case. While some will claim against the owner of the vehicle, others will claim against the automaker and this is a decision you can take with your lawyer.

Auto Defect Claims - In recent times, a number of high-profile insurance companies have come out and said they expect the number of accidents to increase while the transition to driverless technology occurs. According to several consumer research polls in recent times, more than half of people believe the manufacturer should hold some form of responsibility when accidents occur too.

In the years ahead, we could see a case of automakers having to prove they aren't responsible. Especially as crash avoidance technology becomes more common, this is technology designed to keep passengers safe so the manufacturer would have to show why it didn't work as designed. With autonomous vehicles, some manufacturers have already accepted the fact they’ll be blamed and some reports even suggest responsibility for municipalities.

Choosing The Injury Firm - Every year, the laws and regulations regarding self-driving cars change so be sure to get in contact with an expert after experiencing an accident. At The Injury Firm, we pay close attention to the industry so are always in a great position to take on claims after accidents. If you want to get the process started today, feel free to dial our number and arrange a free consultation.

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