Liability with Self-Driving Cars
February 7, 2018
When a car accident is caused by a driver’s negligent behavior, they can be held liable for any injuries that occur. As self-driving cars have transitioned from fantasy to reality, however, many are asking who is responsible when a crash occurs. These autonomous vehicles are a remarkable technological advancement, but they have also created a significant gray area in contemplating liability and risk.
Insurance giant, AIG, surveyed driver-age adults in the United States, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. While a majority said that they thought autonomous vehicles had the potential to be safer than vehicles with drivers, less than 50 percent said they would be comfortable riding in one. Separately, respondents also showed concern for their personal data, fearing that vehicles’ security systems could be breached, or conversations could be recorded while traveling.
Risks Change with Automated Vehicles
There are significant safety advantages with self-driving vehicles, which can take the guesswork out of responding to hazards on the road. Of the 40,000 fatalities caused by car accidents in the U.S. each year, about 90 percent are thought to be the result of human error. Safe driving behaviors, such as braking to prevent a crash, will be integrated into the autonomous vehicle’s operating system. Eliminating the driver also eliminates the risk of human error.
This kind of programming, however, can result in vulnerabilities that are shared among all automated vehicles. Instead of one driver making one mistake, fleets of vehicles may react to a specific scenario in a way that puts riders and other vehicles at risk. While extensive safety testing can allow manufacturers to correct many of these automotive defects, certain scenarios will be impossible to predict until it is too late.
Major tech companies have invested in fully automated vehicles, and we could soon see these vehicles hitting the road. Insurance companies have begun the conversation regarding liability for accidents caused by autonomous vehicles. In the absence of a driver, the vehicle’s manufacturer and the municipality that owns the road may be held responsible for injuries that occur in a collision. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, both parties may have contributed in some way to the failure of the vehicle to keep passengers and other drivers safe. Other responsible parties may include parts manufacturers, software programmers, or the Internet service provider.
Philadelphia Product Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Obtain Compensation for Auto Accident Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a car accident, call the Philadelphia product liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP. Our knowledgeable, experienced lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at fault and prepare an aggressive legal strategy to hold them accountable. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we help accident victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online for a consultation.