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Who is liable for driverless car accidents?

Posted by Bulldog Law | May 05, 2024 | 0 Comments

As driverless cars start filling California streets, related collisions also increase. Although a study suggests that these autonomous vehicles pose less risk to pedestrians and motorists, a collision may still inflict serious harm.

In California, people who get hurt in car accidents may file a personal injury claim against the parties who caused the collision. But when a driverless car causes the crash, figuring out who is to blame is not so easy.

The operator or manufacturer may be responsible

If a defective vehicle causes an accident, the company that made it is usually responsible for paying compensation. Similarly, if a driverless car harms another person because of broken components or a software bug, the carmaker may be at fault.

However, driverless cars are usually on autopilot with someone inside ready to take over when needed. California law requires operators to be able to have control of an autonomous vehicle in case of emergencies. If they fail to act and there is an accident, they could be found at fault.

Unraveling who is at fault

In typical motor vehicle accidents, there are often two drivers, one of whom is at fault. With driverless cars, it could be the carmaker, the person inside or even several parties. To sort this out, a thorough investigation needs to happen.

Experts may have to rely on information from black boxes, which may have recordings of the events leading up to the accident. Along with other evidence, they may be able to find out what truly happened.

Securing compensation after a driverless car accident

Although autonomous car manufacturers may have the means to settle claims, they may not be willing to. Additionally, because driverless cars are still relatively new, applying the law can sometimes be tricky.

If a driverless car has hit you, consider talking to an experienced lawyer to understand your options.

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