Who’s at Fault in a Self-Driving Car Accident?

Autonomous vehicles and self-driving cars seemed like something out of a science fiction novel just a few years ago, but automotive technology is evolving rapidly. As these vehicles become more common, more drivers are going to have questions like, “Who’s at fault in a self-driving car accident?”

In this article, we’ll explain what you should know about autonomous vehicles and liability.

“Self-Driving” Isn’t Quite Accurate

The National Traffic Highway Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that there is currently no vehicle on the market that is truly fully automated or “self-driving.” However, Tesla has recently made the news in relation to an accident that occurred when one of its vehicles was in “Full Self-Driving” mode. This is a beta version of a system that does control some of the automobile’s functions but still requires human supervision. (In other words, it’s not truly a “self-driving” vehicle.) So, it’s safe to say that this can be confusing!

Benefits of Driving Automation

Increased automation in vehicles can help prevent car accidents. Active safety systems are available in many vehicles today to help drivers avoid certain dangers while on the road. Automated driving systems could increase mobility for older adults and people with disabilities. Automobile accidents cost billions of dollars in the United States each year. Automated technologies could help eliminate many of these crashes.

Who’s Responsible?

It’s a great question. For the next several years, drivers will need to remain engaged and attentive when driving, but as autonomous vehicle technology continues to evolve this question will require more examination. Policymakers are working to address questions about liability, insurance, and more before more automated driving systems are available to the public.

The current school of thought is that liability might fall on one or more of these parties in a potential autonomous vehicle accident:

  • The operator of the vehicle at the time of the accident (including ride-hailing services)
  • Technology suppliers for the vehicle
  • The manufacturer

It’s an interesting area to watch as technology continues to evolve.

If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.