Self-driving cars are becoming more and more popular in the United States. In fact, by the year 2035, it is expected that autonomous driving will generate $300 billion to $400 billion in revenue.
With self-driving cars becoming so prevalent, many people are wondering about the liability of self-driving cars when it comes to accidents.
While self-driving cars may be statistically safer, that does not mean that accidents cannot occur. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that self-driving cars have been involved in over 419 crashes since January of 2023.
It’s important to learn about the liability of self-driving cars so you know what to do in the event you fall victim to a self-driving car accident.
Read on to learn about the legalities of these autonomous vehicles.
Table of Contents
Understanding Self-Driving Cars and Their Liability
Self-driving cars are vehicles that use artificial intelligence to travel to set destinations. These vehicles consist of things like cameras, sensors, and radar to operate properly.
Level 1 self-driving cars have certain automated features. Level 2 self-driving cars require driver’s assistance. Level 3 self-driving cars control speed and steering. Level 4 self-driving cars are almost entirely autonomous, but may not be able to handle extreme weather conditions. Level 5 self-driving cars are entirely autonomous and can drive in any condition.
Overall, self-driving cars are a convenient way for drivers to travel and the built-in technology gives drivers an extra layer of protection while on the road.
However, it can be difficult to pinpoint who is liable for an accident involving a self-driving car since there is no physical driver.
Types of Accidents Involving Self-Driving Cars
While self-driving car accidents aren’t common, the usual type of accident that occurs are rear-end, side-impact, and pedestrian collisions.
The driver in the self-driving car is often held responsible for any damages. However, this all depends on specific variables.
For example, in some cases, a self-driving vehicle may alert the driver to take over. This usually occurs due to unsafe road conditions. If the driver fails to do so, they could be liable for the crash. The driver may also be liable if they did not bring in their car for maintenance or if they decided to drive at any point during the trip.
If there is no driver in the self-driving vehicle at the time the accident took place, the manufacturer and software company of the self-driving vehicle will first be investigated. If they are found responsible for any underlying mechanical issues with the vehicle that were overlooked before the car went on the market, they will face liability. If this isn’t the case, the other party involved will be held responsible.
Comparative Negligence in Self-Driving Car Accidents
Comparative negligence is a type of legal defense with the goal of reducing a plaintiff’s damages in a negligence-based claim.
When it comes to self-driving car accidents, comparative negligence can be used to divide the fines between the two drivers, based on who was more at fault during the accident.
That being said, comparative negligence does not work the same in every state. Some states will not grant any compensation to the driver, even if they were just slightly responsible for the accident.
Insurance Implications of Self-Driving Car Accidents
Many people wonder how insurance coverage and claims work when involved in a self-driving car accident.
Oftentimes, liability is determined by the no-fault concept. This is when the insurance company will cover injuries, even if the driver was at fault for the accident. However, this varies based on the state in which you live and the insurance company that you do business with.
If the manufacturer or software company of the vehicle is held responsible for the damages, they will be entitled to cover all injury and damage costs that have resulted from the accident.
Legal Representation for Self-Driving Car Accidents
A reputable self-driving accident attorney is responsible for helping you win your case in the event of a self-driving car accident. These professionals will work with you to fight for your claim and get the justice you deserve.
In order to file your claim, you will first need to hire your self-driving car accident attorney. From there, they will help you determine who is liable for the damages.
Current State of Self-Driving Car Liability Laws
Self-driving car liability laws vary from state to state. In states like Kansas, Arizona, and Nebraska, it is required for a licensed driver to be behind the wheel at all times in a self-driving car in case of emergency. This naturally puts more responsibility on the driver in case things go south.
Other states have much more flexible laws and regulations around self-driving cars. For example, Nevada was the very first state to allow autonomous vehicles, including trucks, to be tested on public streets.
In the future, it is expected that the liability of self-driving cars will be placed more on the manufacturers and software providers as they continue to advance. Accidents from self-driving cars are also expected to decrease over time, but compensations for these accidents are expected to increase.
Personal car insurance may also become a thing of the past for drivers of self-driving cars. This means that manufacturers and software providers may eventually need to invest in insurance that is high-limit in the event of an accident.
Schedule Your Free Consultation With Naqvi Injury Law in Nevada
All in all, the liability of a self-driving car accident mainly comes down to the specificities of the incident and the state in which you reside.
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If you’re ready to work with our incredible team of personal injury attorneys, you can start by receiving a free consultation with us today or give us a call at (702) 919-6818.