Liability Involved in a Self-Driving Car Accident

Posted By Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci || 9-Jan-2017

Should a carmaker be held liable in a self-driving car crash? Who can you hold responsible for injuries if you have been harmed from a self-driving car accident?

When an autonomous car crash occurs, it is important to know what type of claim to file and against whom.

One Current Self-Driving Car Accident Case

Tesla may be up against a difficult situation because a driver lost his life in an accident using the self-driving technology of the autopilot vehicle. The driver died when the autopilot system did not recognize a tractor trailer that was turning in front of the vehicle. An investigation is being conducted and the federal government is investigating the company’s autopilot system.

This is just one of many incidents where a self-driving car proved its inability to prevent an accident from occurring. But can you file a product liability claim against the vehicle’s company? In some situations, this may be a longshot because buyers of these vehicles have to agree to contract terms, requiring drivers to keep hands on the steering wheel at all times, even when it is set to autopilot. In some of the latest cases, drivers could have prevented the accident if they had complied with the agreement.

The problem is that self-driving vehicles, which only take on some of the driving responsibilities, can be problematic by allowing the driver to become complacent while they should still remain in control. These systems can be counted on to handle a lot of problematic circumstances, but there are still cases in which the driver will need to take control of the vehicle.

Some automakers, such as Google, are under the impression that having a completely autonomous self-driving car is the best option, one that does not even include pedals or a steering wheel. This would entirely remove the driving task from the driver.

In the future, car makers may be held ultimately responsible for accidents involving self-driving vehicles. State courts assume that future liability lawsuits of this nature will lead to that conclusion. If there is no driver to blame, technology would be the undeniable culprit, which would lie in the hands of the auto maker.

Injured? Contact Our Firm for Your Free Evaluation

If you or a loved one has any questions on an auto accident and want to pursue compensation, look to Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci. We offer free initial consultations to help you get started building a case. Contact us for assistance in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas.