What Happens When People have Accidents with Driverless Cars?

Posted May 12th, 2016 by .

Categories: Auto Accidents.

driverless car accidents anthony carboneWe admit that we haven’t seen any driverless cars in downtown Jersey City.  Or anywhere nearby.  However, we understand they are a part of the future.  We have to wonder.  Who will assume responsibility if one of these vehicles causes an accident?

Driverless cars go by a few other names.  They are also known as autonomous cars and self-driving vehicles.  According to reports, Audi plans to release the first autonomous limousine next year.  The idea behind these self-driving vehicles is that there is no risk that the driver will be distracted.  No text message or cell phone intrusion.  Could this work?

The other advantage cited for driverless cars is for those who suffer from certain medical conditions.  A self-driving vehicle would enable them to get around without relying on someone else.  Of course, there is also the issue of those who shouldn’t drive while impaired.

So, how does all this work in the case of accidents?  It certainly raises an interesting question.

Autonomous Vehicles and Accident Claims

It’s not as if there is much precedent to base this article.  Driverless accident claims are certainly a novelty.  In fact, we’d venture to say that the whole concept seems like a chapter out of some science fiction novel.

The reality is that London is the first major city to see self-driving cars on the road.  It will be interesting to see the whether there is an increased incidence of accidents across the pond.  Notwithstanding, our research has picked up some interesting statistics regarding testing of driverless cars:

  • Preliminary data suggests that autonomous vehicles crash more than conventional ones in real traffic
  • The data may be inconclusive, because there isn’t a lot available for comparison
  • When self-driving cars are involved in accidents, others vehicles crash into them
  • Most of the time, the accident was not the fault of the autonomous car

But, what happens when it is the fault of the driverless car?  We’re not being funny when we say you obviously can’t blame the vehicle operator.  There is none.

As we all know, technology has flaws.  Will humans be able to override the system?  What happens if there are signs redirecting traffic?  How will the self-driving car follow them?  Obviously, a great deal of the driverless system will count on sensors.  What if they fail?

This is why it will be important to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney.  One who can review the circumstances of the case from a few angles.  Will liability be assumed by the owner of the vehicle?  Or, is there a possibility that there is manufacturing defect?  These issues will require careful investigation.

Frankly, we suspect that personal injury claims involving autonomous cars could make new law.  It should be interesting.

Contact Us

At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have a number of years of experience of handling both car crashes and products liability cases.  Contact us if you have been injured and would like us to review the circumstances of your accident.


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