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Self-Driving Cars And Accident Lawsuits

Self-Driving Cars And Accident LawsuitsOver the last several decades, personal injury cases have largely depended upon one key thing - showing just who is responsible for the accidents that lead to injuries. But technology is gradually beginning to change this, and one of the biggest ways that it's doing so is in the world of self-driving cars. As these vehicles become more and more common, those injured in accidents involving them as well as those lawyers representing the injured parties will have to face new challenges when seeking compensation.

A Growing Auto Trend

Self driving cars are catching on in a big way around the nation. Auto makers from Tesla to GM are utilizing the new self-driving technology, and it goes well beyond just being able to push a button and let the car parallel park itself. Today's cars can drive entirely on their own, and it's expected that this is a trend that's only going to continue growing.

In fact, each year, the percentage of drivers who claim to be afraid to ride in a self-driving car is dropping. Last year, the numbers were 78 percent. Over the course of one year, the percentage has fallen to 63. Experts expect that the idea of using a self-driving car will only continue to become more accepted over the coming years as the technology improves.

An Imperfect Technology

However, it's not currently a perfect technology - not at all. Recently, a self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona struck and killed a woman as she crossed the street with her bicycle. And in that instance, there was actually a driver in the vehicle running tests for added safety.

Currently, the technology for self-driving cars works better in a freeway or highway application. The increased pedestrians, stop and go traffic, signs and signals, and more can all make it more complex for the vehicle to safely drive itself. The freeway's open roads are a better fit, and despite the higher speeds are generally safer for self-driving cars.

Who Is At Fault?

So, what happens in a situation like the one in Arizona, where an accident occurs involving a self-driving vehicle? The answer isn't always too clear, but one thing that is important to bear in mind is this - despite driver assistance features, the driver is still ultimately responsible for accidents that occur while their car is in operation.

There could be additional wrinkles, however. For example, if the self-driving technology is faulty and leads to an accident, there is a chance that the automaker or the company who designed the technology is liable as well. Assigning fault and determining who is truly responsible is something that you'll need the help of an attorney for. Some of those who may be held liable include:

• The driver
• The company who made the vehicle
• The company who designed the technology for the self-driving features
• Those who manage maintenance and updates on the technology

Your lawyer will be able to review the situation and exactly what led to the accident, then advise you on how best to get the compensation that you're owed.

What About The Future?

The future of self-driving cars is murky, bust most agree that we shouldn't expect to see fleets of vehicles without a driver behind the wheel anytime soon. Instead, it's much more likely that drivers will still be required, monitoring the operation of the vehicle as the self-driving technology assists in driving.

If you're injured in an accident involving self-driving vehicles, it's important that you contact an attorney as soon as you can. This way, you ensure that you'll be able to get the compensation you are owed, from whomever is liable.