Determining liability in a Los Angeles self-driving car accident can be complicated. While fully autonomous vehicles are not available to the public currently, many vehicles are equipped with automated driver adjust systems (ADAS) that are only a software update away from full automation. If an accident happens that results in injuries, having an experienced self-driving car accident attorney is essential.
At J&Y Law, we are well-prepared to handle self-driving car accident claims throughout California. We understand both the technical and legal aspects of accidents involving autonomous vehicles and know how to hold all the responsible parties accountable. Whether a technical glitch or driver error was the underlying cause of the self-driving car accident that caused your injuries, you deserve just compensation. Contact our office now to learn how we can help.
Who Is At Fault in a Los Angeles Self-Driving Car Accident?
The answer to this question is basically the same as an accident involving a fully manual vehicle. The parties that are potentially responsible for a self-driving car accident include:
- The driver of the self-driving vehicle
- The self-driving car manufacturer
- The manufacturer of a defective automotive component
- Other parties in the vehicle’s chain of distribution (e.g, dealership, part manufacturer)
- A third party (e.g vehicle repair shop)
The Driver of the Self-Driving Vehicle
Most self-driving vehicles currently available to consumers are only equipped with partial driving automation that controls steering, accelerating, and decelerating, but the driver must be attentive and able to take control at any time. This means that the driver can be held liable if an accident occurs, and studies show that humans are still the leading cause of self-driving car accidents. Moreover, drivers that are over-reliant on automated driver assist systems (ADAS) may not be able to respond to road and weather conditions, resulting in an accident.
The Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturer
Unlike car accident claims against drivers that involve negligence, claims against autonomous vehicle manufacturers are typically based on product liability. Under California product liability laws, manufacturers can be held strictly liable for serious and fatal injuries resulting from vehicle defects.
To have a viable claim, it is only necessary to prove that (1) the vehicle was defective and (2) the defect was responsible for the self-driving car accident. However, if driver negligence and a vehicle defect both contribute to causing an accident (e.g. the driver was distracted and the car failed to detect another vehicle in its path), then the driver and the vehicle manufacturer may share legal responsibility.
The Manufacturer of a Defective Vehicle Component
Vehicle manufacturers usually buy components from other companies, including technology, such as autonomous driver assistance systems. If you were injured in a self-drving car accident involving a vehicle that utilized technology from a third-party hardware or software company, you may have a claim against both that company and the vehicle manufacturer.
Other Companies in the Vehicle’s Chain of Distribution
Product liability applies to all companies involved in the chain of distribution of a defective vehicle. So, victims of a self-driving car accident may have a claim against the dealership, the vehicle manufacturer, the self-driving component manufacturer, and various other companies.
Determining the level of responsibility of each may depend on contracts these companies have in place that assign a percentage of liability to each party. In any event, injury victims are entitled to compensation regardless of which company is directly to blame for the defect.
Even if a vehicle was not defective, faulty maintenance can cause a self-driving car accident. Whether an independent repair shop performed the repairs or the vehicle’s owner took it back to the dealership, injury victims are entitled to compensation for their losses if negligent repair is to blame.
Also, if the accident was caused by poor road construction or negligent road repairs, the government agency and the contractor that performed the work can be held liable. Regardless of the cause, it takes an experienced self-driving car accident attorney to establish liability.
How J&Y Can Help
Self-driving cars are often pitched as being safer than manual vehicles based on the manufacturer’s statistics, however, accidents involving autonomous vehicles are becoming increasingly common. By working with our experienced self-driving car accident attorneys, you can obtain just compensation. Our attorneys will handle all the details of your claim, including:
- Conducting a thorough investigation
- Obtaining and reviewing police reports
- Identifying and interviewing witnesses
- Obtaining technical data from the vehicle
- Subpoenaing safety records from the manufacturer
While self-driving car accident claims can often be settled out of court, we are always prepared to take your case to trial. Above all, we will fight for damages such as:
- Medical expenses and rehabilitative costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
You can trust us to guide you through every step of the process and protect your rights.
Contact Our Experienced Los Angeles Self-Driving Car Accident Attorney
Given the challenges of determining liability in a self-driving accident and the fact that multiple parties may be legally responsible for your losses, it is essential to have the powerful representation we provide. We offer free consultations and charge no attorneys’ fees until we recover for you. Contact us now so we can start working on your claim.