You’re on your way to work when all of sudden you’re side-swiped by a car as you drive through a busy intersection. The light was green for you, so obviously the other driver was at fault for running a red light.
The problem? There was no other driver.
Lawmakers and technology companies are currently in a predicament to determine who is at fault in a self-driving car accident. Should the fault fall on the manufacturer? The car’s owner? The computer that malfunctioned?
Then there’s the added question of what happens when companies like Uber have one of their drivers in the self-driving car when the accident occurred. Talk about a legal mess!
Safety Features: Preventing an Accident
The front-running companies of self-driving vehicles like Tesla and Google have added countless safety features to these cars to make them as safe as possible — sensors, lasers, cameras, etc. The problem is that computers sometimes have glitches. The complications add up when self-driving cars share the road with human drivers who also make mistakes.
So Who’s at Fault?
The current answer is, in short, we don’t know. Since self-driving cars are already on the road and already causing accidents, lawmakers are scrambling to find an answer. So far, every solution comes with its own issues.
Problem: The liability insurance to maintain sole-responsibility is costly for manufacturers. Either a manufacturer won’t make self-driving cars in the first place, or drive the price up so high that the average (or even above average) American consumer wouldn’t be able to afford one.
Answer: Car Owner
Problem: Is the car owner truly showing negligence if they aren’t operating the vehicle? If a computer glitch or malfunction causes the accident, it may be legally difficult to prove human fault if the human wasn’t driving.
Answer: The Car
Problem: This option makes the self-driving car a “person,” making the vehicle itself liable for accident damage. But it’s difficult to hold a vehicle responsible when it can’t “pay out” damages. This option also takes all responsibility off the manufacturer.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident — whether it was a self-driving car or standard vehicle — contact the experienced Tennessee auto accident lawyers at Gilreath & Associates to help you with your case.