A Google driverless car accident has been reported as possibly the first in which a self-driving vehicle was at fault in causing a collision. In a future where driverless cars will share the road with human drivers, the nature of auto accidents will change. However, drivers and passengers who are injured through no fault of their own will still be eligible to recover compensation for damages with the help of a driverless car accident attorney.
For more information, contact Attorney Group today. Our consultations are free, confidential and without any obligation on your part. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated auto accident lawyer who can assist you throughout the legal process.
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Google Driverless Car Accident: Self-Driving Car At Fault – First of It’s Kind?
In a February 29, 2016 article, Reuters reported on a Google driverless car accident. According to the article:
Google said on Monday it bears “some responsibility” after one of its self-driving cars struck a municipal bus in a minor crash earlier this month. The crash may be the first case of one of its autonomous cars hitting another vehicle and the fault of the self-driving car.
The Google bus accident resulted in the Internet search company making changes to its driverless vehicle software in an effort to avoid future accidents.
Attorney Sees Risks of Self-Driving Car Accidents
The Google bus accident is not the first incident raising concerns among attorneys about the risks of self-driving cars. Several Tesla Autopilot Close Calls were reported after the car company released software allowing for semi-automated driving of its Model S vehicles.
Similarly, Tesla self-parking safety concerns were raised after Consumer Reports reported that the self-parking feature for the Model S raised a risk that in an emergency, a user might not be able stop the car right away if they were to press the wrong part of the key fob (the buttons are not marked) or if they dropped the key fob.
An accident caused by human or computer errors still risks causing injury. As cars are operated more frequently by automated software in the future, the nature of the legal issues will change.
Who’s at Fault When a Driverless Car Causes an Accident?
Although the legal issues involving damages caused by driverless cars, such as the Google bus accident, have not been extensively explored, basic legal principles would seem to apply to these cases.
In a typical auto accident involving human drivers, determining who was at fault is based on principles of negligence. All drivers have a duty to operate their cars with reasonable care for their own safety and the safety of others. If a driver fails to do this and causes injury to others, he or she can be held legally responsible to compensate the injured party for their damages.
When a product causes injury to a user, the manufacturer of that product will be responsible for those injuries if it is determined that the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous. This is known as product liability. As with a driver who has a duty to act with ordinary care, a product maker has a duty to sell products that are safe for their intended uses.
Because a self-driving car does not have a human driver, accidents caused by driverless car will most likely be judged according to the duties that apply to product makers. In other words, it will need to be determined whether the driverless car was defective and unreasonably dangerous. If it is determined that the car was unsafe in this way, then the car maker may be held liable for the damages caused by the vehicle.
Regardless of the duty to which the party who causes an accident is held in determining the fault for injuries caused by that party, the damages to which the injured party my be entitled will remain the same.
Injured Parties May Be Entitled to Compensation
Whether a defective product or a negligent driver causes an accident, people who are injured in an accident that was not their fault are entitled to recover damages caused by the accident.
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.
If a future Google driverless car accident causes injury to another driver or passenger, an injured party should speak to an experienced auto accident lawyer to learn more about the rights and remedies available.
Contact Us For More Information
If you have questions about the Google driverless car accident, or if you would like to learn more about your options following an auto accident, 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 [email protected].
When you contact us, an attorney will follow up with you to speak with you about your case or answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.
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.
See our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information, and contact Attorney Group today.