J&Y Law Firm discusses who is liable in driverless car accidents.

Who Is Liable in Driverless Car Accidents?

Driverless cars are no longer the subject of fantasy and science fiction movies. You can see driverless cars or semi-automated vehicles on streets and highways throughout California. However, are driverless cars safe? Autonomous vehicles are involved in numerous traffic accidents in California and other states. Proponents of driverless vehicles argue that they make roads safer by reducing the number of distracted driving accidents and other accidents caused by driver error. Unfortunately, there are other problems with driverless vehicles that could result in a crash. Our California car accident attorney assists individuals in investigating and file claims related to driverless car accidents.

Who Is Liable?

As with any traffic accident, a thorough and complete investigation is required to determine the cause of the crash and identify the party or parties responsible for causing the collision. With driverless car accidents, there could be one or more parties at fault.

In some cases, a driverless car is involved in an accident caused by another driver. In those cases, the at-fault driver would be liable for any damages arising from the traffic accident. In other cases, the operator of the driverless vehicle could be at fault for causing a crash. 

Some driverless cars are not fully automated. The operator must be ready to assume control of the vehicle in some circumstances. Identification of the level of automation is essential to determine whether an operator was at fault for a driverless car accident. In vehicles with driver assistance, partial automation, and conditional automation, a driver is expected to pay attention and assume control if necessary. In vehicles with high automation and full automation, a driver is typically not required because the vehicle is in control of the driving.

Driverless vehicle manufacturers and other parties may also be held liable for damages in a driverless car accident. If a manufacturer failed to adequately test a driverless vehicle because it was in a hurry to market the vehicle, the manufacturer might be liable for damages caused by defects in the design, manufacture, or testing of the vehicle. 

Driverless vehicles also use a variety of systems that work together to direct the vehicles, such as sensors, GPS, and complex software and operating systems. The manufacturer and other companies responsible for creating, manufacturing, testing, and installing these systems could be liable for a car accident in the event of a system malfunction, cyber-attack, or other error.

Driverless Car Accident Cases Are Complex

Determining liability for driverless car accidents requires expert analysis of the collision and intensive investigation into the cause of the crash. Laws and regulations governing autonomous vehicles continue to evolve, which can make it more difficult for victims who are injured in accidents involving driverless cars to seek compensation from certain parties.