Self-Driving Cars And The Question Of Accident Fault

When you're involved in an accident today, you have a few options when trying to seek additional compensation. While your PIP insurance policy could help you offset much of your costs, it's important to remember that you also have the right to seek compensation from those who are responsible if they acted in a negligent or reckless manner.

But what happens if the vehicle involved in your accident was a self-driving car? It is a question that is becoming more and more common as the rise of these vehicles continues, and a recent Arizona accident that involved a self-driving Uber killing someone crossing the street illustrates just how important the question will be in the future.


The Most Recent Accident


This most recent accident occurred when a 49-year-old woman named Elaine Herzberg was crossing the street with her bicycle. She later died from her injuries at a hospital. The vehicle itself was moving at 40 miles per hour and while it was in autonomous mode, there was a human safety driver on board.

However, recent videos released of the incident show that that driver - Rafael Vasquez - was looking down for several seconds multiple times leading up to the accident. At the moment the car struck the pedestrian, his eyes weren't on the road.

This accident has called liability into question, but already many experts agree that whether in autonomous mode or being driven directly by the driver, the accident was difficult to avoid due to the way that Herzberg appeared from out of nowhere. Adding to the confusion is the fact that Herzberg wasn't using a crosswalk as she made her way across the street.


The Question Of Accident Fault


So, what happens in this situation? There are several different entities that could be held liable. These include:

• Uber, since their vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the accident
• Volvo, the automaker who created the vehicle
• The company that created, installed, and programmed the self-driving technology
• Vasquez, who was the safety driver at the time of the accident

Each of these four entities could be found to be liable in this case. However, what about future, other cases? The simple answer is that it will vary greatly from case to case. But, in many instances it's highly likely that the driver who is in the vehicle at the time of the accident will be held at least partially to blame - even if the vehicle was in self-driving mode at the time.

These types of accidents have created numerous complexities within the world of personal injury and accident law. For example, now investigators or attorneys will have to consider defects in programing and installation of the system - negligence as it is generally considered may be irrelevant since a defect in the system could be all that is needed to show fault.


What Should You Do If Injured By A Self Driving Car?


The simple answer is that you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible when injured in an accident involving a self-driving vehicle. The increasing complexities involved in these cases mean that it's important to get help from the professionals.

Your attorney will be able to review the case, investigate all the circumstances around it, and then determine how best to proceed in a way that will get you what you deserve. Our lawyers have decades of experience in the field and have already worked to develop the right strategies and understanding for cases involving self-driving technology. Contact us today to get the help you need and to make sure you get the restitution that you deserve.