Driverless Car Hacking Accident Raises Unique Legal Issues

A driverless car hacking accident is a safety concern for self-driving vehicles. Although auto and tech companies claim that these cars are safer than those driven by humans, autonomous vehicles will nevertheless pose new safety risks for other drivers and passengers. One serious concern is that hackers in a remote location will be able to breach the car’s software and take over its operation.

In most cases, when a person is injured through the negligence or fault of another, the injured person is entitled to seek compensation for their injuries. Driverless car hacking accidents will make identifying an at-fault party more difficult, and these accidents will raise unique legal issues.

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, contact Attorney Group. We offer free, confidential, no obligation consultations. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated driverless car accident attorney who can assist you through the legal process.

Important: The time you have to pursue a claim is limited. Contact us for more information.

Driverless Car Safety Concerns

Although driverless car technology promises to reduce motor vehicle injuries and deaths significantly, safety issues are emerging that go beyond those raised by human error in the operation of an automobile.

Soon after its release, Tesla’s Autopilot software raised questions of whether a self-driving technology lawsuit would follow accidents causing injury or death. Consumer Reports raised Tesla Self-Parking safety concerns when it reported that the “Summon Mode” feature on the Model S might prevent the user from stopping the car in certain situations. In what may have been the first case of a self-driving car causing an accident, Reuters reported in February 2016 on a Google self-driving car hitting a municipal bus in California.

These concern have already led to considerations of who is at fault in a self-driving car accident, and the legal issues raised go beyond simple negligence to principles of product liability and foreseeability.

Your Next Car Will Be Hacked.”

Unique to these issues is the situation in which a driverless car is hacked, resulting in an accident that causes injury.

In March 2016, the Guardian published an article entitled, “Your next car will be hacked. Will autonomous vehicles be worth it?” According to the story:

Already, one hacker claims to have taken control of some systems on board a passenger plane he was on, getting as far as issuing a “climb command” that he accessed through the entertainment system. Another pair of hackers caused a Jeep to crash in July 2015 by accessing some of the car’s software through another poorly protected entertainment system.

Data breach lawsuits, which are the types of cases that typically result from the activities of hackers, raise a completely different set of compensation issues from cases where injury results from the hacking of a product such as an automobile, but the liability issues may be similar and can help provide guidance for the unique legal issues raised by a driverless car hacking accident.

Driverless Car Hacking Accident: Unique Legal Issues

 When a driverless car is involved in an accident due to its being hacked, it is clear that one party at fault is the hacker. However, due to the nature of computer crimes, it may be difficult identify the hacker or to pursue compensation from that person.

The liability analysis must then turn to the manufacturer of the hacked vehicle and its software. Questions that must be answered following a driverless car hacking accident include:

  • Did the software’s failure to resist hacking make it defective and unreasonably dangerous? If so, the manufacturer could be responsible for the accident under theories of product liability.
  • Was the manufacturer or some other party negligent in failing to maintain the vehicle’s software in such a way as to resist hacking?
  • What other steps did the manufacturer take to mitigate the danger of the car being hacked?

The latter two questions are common to data breach lawsuits, as well. The facts will be different for each case, and the complexity of the legal issues should encourage an injured party to seek the advice of an experienced auto accident attorney.

Injured Parties May be Entitled to Compensation

When an accident causes injury, whether due to the negligence or other fault of another party, an injured party suffers loss in various ways. The law allows an injured party to pursue damages to recover those losses. Common types of damages recoverable in a personal injury case include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of ability to earn
  • Scarring and disfigurement

When someone’s negligence results in the death of another person, family members of the person killed may recover damages for the wrongful death of their loved one. Wrongful death damages include:

  • Medical expenses incurred prior to death
  • Conscious pain and suffering prior to death
  • Loss of the economic support of the loved one
  • Loss of the companionship of the loved one
  • Funeral expenses

If the actions causing injury are malicious or so reckless that intent to harm can be inferred, the responsible party can be liable for punitive damages to punish wrongful conduct and deter similar conduct in the future.

Victims of negligence and their families are encouraged to seek the counsel of a driverless car hacking accident attorney to learn more about their rights and remedies.

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For more information, contact Attorney Group. You can fill out the form on this page, call us at the number listed at the top of the page, or email us at

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Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.

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