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Self-Driving Car Accidents: Who’s Liable?

Remember when self-driving cars sounded like science fiction? That’s not the case anymore! Self-driving cars are here, and we all share the road with them.

Whether you find the prospect of self-driving cars exciting or nerve-wracking, there are real-world implications for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

One of the questions relates to car accidents. How do insurance companies and the courts assign responsibility when one of the vehicles in an accident was driving itself?

If you have been in an accident with a self driving car, I’m sure you’re asking yourself this question: who is liable? What happens if you were struck by a self-driving car, or if you were in your own self-driving car when you had an accident?

What Are Self-Driving Cars?

Self-driving cars are also called autonomous vehicles or driverless vehicles. 

According to Tech Target, self-driving cars use “a combination of sensors, cameras, radar, and artificial intelligence (AI) to travel between destinations without a human operator.” These cars can only be considered self-driving if they are “able to navigate without human intervention to a predetermined destination over roads that have not been adapted for [their] use.” 

In a fully self-driving car, the passenger puts a destination into the car’s navigation system, and the vehicle gets itself there without human involvement. An example of this kind of car is the Google Waymo.

Many Cars Have Self-Driving Features

Although fully self-driving cars are still uncommon on the road, cars with self-driving features are becoming more and more commonplace. 

Self-driving features include:

  • Hands-free steering
  • Adaptive cruise control (ACC), which automatically slows down the vehicle when it is a certain distance behind any other vehicles on the road
  • Lane-centering steering, which automatically activates when the driver crosses lanes

It is much more likely that a driver will be injured by a car using one of these features than they would be in an accident with a fully self-driven car. Even though these features are designed to improve safety on the road, it is still possible for a car with self-driving features to be involved in a motor vehicle collision. 

What Kind of Injuries Can Occur In Self Driving Car Accidents?

In an accident, injuries are not dependent upon whether or not the car was self-driving. Injuries are caused by things like speed, impact, flying objects, deploying airbags, and other factors. 

Injuries from self driving car accidents include:

Self Driving Accident Rates

Self-driving cars and self-driving features are a new reality for drivers, insurers, and passengers. The data doesn’t go back very far. 

However, we know that in 2022, car manufacturers reported that nearly 400 crashes involving self-driving car technology were reported in an 11-month window. 

Who is Liable in a Self-Driving Car Accident?

To determine fault in an accident with a self-driving car, an attorney can address the following questions:

  • Did the technology function correctly, or did a failure of the technology cause the accident? If the technology failed, the car manufacturer may be liable.
  • Was the driver attentive and alert, or were they distracted and/or negligent? 
  • Was the accident due to a driver’s mistake, misjudgment, or failure to follow traffic laws?

Determining fault is complicated in most accidents, especially when self-driving features are involved.

If you believe that the self-driving features of your car malfunctioned or failed and caused an accident, it is important to speak to a self driving car accident lawyer who can help to determine if the manufacturer can be held accountable for the failure. 

Getting Legal Help After a Self-Driving Car Accident in Indiana–Crossen Law Firm

After an accident with a self-driving car, it is important to speak to an attorney who can fight for you to get the correct compensation for your costs, injuries, and suffering. 

Our team of experienced and compassionate attorneys at Crossen Law Firm is ready to help. We know that filing injury claims for an Indianapolis car accident is complicated and at times confusing. If one of the vehicles was self-driving or using self-driving features, things get even more complex! 

We are confident that we can handle your unique case

To discuss your situation with an Indianapolis car accident lawyer, call (317) 401-8626 to schedule a free consultation today.