Over the past few years, self-driving cars have become more ubiquitous and widely available to the public. These vehicles go through rigorous testing to ensure they are safe and reliable on the roadways. Unfortunately, like other types of technology, self-driving cars are not without risk.
Individuals who own self-driving cars often question whether or not they would be liable for damages and injuries in the event of an accident. The fact that these vehicles are self-driven does create some interesting circumstances surrounding collisions.
If you were injured in an accident involving a self-driving car, contact Siegfried & Jensen as soon as possible. Our personal injury attorneys can help you in cases where you sustained injuries and damages from an automated car.
Crashes And Liability For Self-Driving Vehicles
Self-driving cars are still very new and the technology is still being optimized. For this reason, individuals are still trying to determine how liability will work in cases in which that kind of technology is involved. There have already been a few significant cases, which have dramatically influenced our country’s views on accidents caused by them.
One notable case was the 2017 self-driving Uber vehicle accident in Tempe, Arizona. This accident caused the death of a pedestrian. The self-driving SUV flipped on its side after traveling at 38 miles per hour. Early investigations determined that the pedestrian may have caused the accident due to jaywalking and walking in a non-crosswalk area. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated this case, which stirred up controversial views across the nation.
Another instance where a self-driving car was involved in an accident occurred when a Tesla vehicle was set to autopilot. During this driving mode, the vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer. The accident resulted in the death of the Tesla’s operator. Unfortunately, an investigation of the incident found that the Tesla vehicle was flashing a warning signal to the driver which told them to disengage the autopilot mode. Unfortunately, the driver was not paying attention at the time of the accident, so the alert went unseen.
Determining Liability in Self-Driving Car Cases
When it comes to rideshare companies in Utah, tort law principles may be applied to cover accidents caused by negligence. While using the case above as an example, there are several factors for which we can explore. These include:
- Whether the self-driving vehicle did not note the pedestrian’s presence. If this is true, Uber and the vehicle’s manufacturer will bear responsibility under product liability principles.
- If the pedestrian was crossing at night and obscured by darkness. If this is true, the victim could share some responsibility for the accident.
- If the pedestrian’s actions were beyond negligent. In cases where the pedestrian engaged in conduct that caused the accident to be unavoidable, she may be fully liable for it.
Litigations Surrounding Self-Driving Cars
The Tempe, Arizona case has yet to be litigated, but it could have a major impact on providing the baseline for handling self-driving cars in the future. This case will likely devolve into a large legal battle between the vehicle manufacturer, the ridesharing company, and the supplier of the self-driving automation technology. These companies will have to engage in court battles to determine who is liable for the accident. It is extremely possible that multiple parties can be held accountable for this accident and future accidents which are similar in nature.
Working with an experienced attorney will ensure you are able to recover the maximum amount of compensation for injuries and damages sustained.
Recoverable Damages From Self-Driving Car Owners
Drivers of self-driving vehicles can be held liable for a variety of damages sustained by victims who are harmed in accidents caused by them. Some of the recoverable damages to which victims are entitled include:
Medical Expenses: Individuals harmed by self-driving cars often sustain serious injuries that require a plethora of medical treatments. Those injured are able to receive compensation for medical exams, appointments, hospitalization, surgeries, therapies, and all other medical expenses related to the care and treatment of injuries. These awards take into consideration all past, current, and future medical treatments.
Lost Wages: Those harmed in car accidents caused by negligent or reckless drivers are able to collect lost wages for the time they will be required to take off for hospitalization, recovery, surgeries, and therapy. Individuals who have to take off work for doctor appointments are able to obtain a settlement for lost wages related to their days off, regardless of whether they have vacation pay available or not. In cases where injuries force victims out of work indefinitely, courts can award compensation to cover the lifetime of earnings victims otherwise would have made.
Pain and Suffering: Courts are able to award repayment for physical and emotional pain and suffering victims experience from their injuries and accidents. The victim will have to demonstrate to what extent their injuries impact their life to provide courts a better understanding of the level of suffering they experience. Working with a knowledgeable attorney will ensure you obtain the maximum amount of financial reimbursement for these damages.
Other awards available include loss of consortium, property damages, and punitive damages. It is imperative for you to hire an experienced personal injury attorney from Siegfried & Jensen to ensure you are able to obtain full and fair restitution for your injuries and damages.
A Utah Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
If you were injured in a car accident caused by a self-driving car, it is imperative to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. Attorneys at Siegfried & Jensen work diligently to protect the legal rights of victims injured in car accidents caused by negligent or reckless drivers.
Our team of skilled attorneys aggressively represents accident victims by filing legal claims, negotiating with at-fault drivers’ insurance companies, and making fair and full settlement agreements that provide compensation for those injured.
If you were injured in a car accident involving a self-driving vehicle, contact Siegfried & Jensen at (801) 845-9000 to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Content checked by personal injury attorney Todd Bradford. I worked for a small law firm in Utah County, where I handled various types of cases. My main focus was personal injury and I decided that is what I enjoyed doing the most. I rejoined Siegfried and Jensen in 2012 where my focus is solely on helping personal injury clients. I take pride in helping personal injury clients and enjoy serving them. If you need an attorney for auto accidents or injuries of any kind in Salt Lake City, UT, Ogden, UT, Spokane, WA, or Boise, ID, contact us.