Can you sue for injury if you were hit by a self-driving car?
So far, very little information is known about which monetary judgments are usually rewarded by courts. This is because the manufacturing companies and ridesharing companies were too willing to settle these cases out of court.
As the concept of self-driving cars has moved from fiction to reality, state legislation has been accelerated to ensure that liability exists as if a person were negligent. States across the country are introducing safety standards – some stricter than others – to regulate the inevitable flood of automated vehicles onto the streets and highways of the United States.
If you were injured in a self-driving car accident, you may have an opportunity to file a claim for damages. To succeed in court, you will likely need to demonstrate that you have been injured in an accident, at least primarily due to the negligence of the driver, owner and / or manufacturer of the self-driving car. When and in what amount you can sue depends on the circumstances of the individual case, e.g. B. Whether the accident was caused by human error or a product malfunction and the condition in which the accident occurred.
Negligence in driving a car
In theory, self-driving cars function by the same standards as cars that are driven by ordinary people. If a car causes personal injury or damage to someone or someone else’s property due to negligence or failure to comply with driving standards, a liability test will most likely be conducted. The key difference is who the liable party will be.
In a typical case of negligent negligence, there are three ways to make a claim for damages. A driver who behaves negligently (e.g. blowing through a red traffic light) is primarily liable for injuries caused by the behavior. If the negligent driver is not the owner but drives the car with the knowledge and permission of the owner, the owner can also be held liable. However, if the accident was caused by a defect in the vehicle itself, the liability extends to the manufacturer. This theory is known as product liability.
All three routes are available to victims of self-driving car accidents with negligence, but are a little more complicated. Several states have passed laws that transfer the liability of the “driver” to the manufacturing company. If the actual driver is an employee (or “agent”) of a rideshare company like Uber, the company is also liable for the damage according to the time-tested legal theory known as “replacement liability”.
Evidence of errors in crash cases for self-driving cars
Regardless of the circumstances of the accident or the condition in which it occurs, the injured party still has to prove culpability. In other words, you would have to legally prove that the cause of the accident was a bug or malfunction in the vehicle’s operating system. As this is a relatively new area, it is still unclear what the burden that would be, especially as self-driving automakers have recently chosen not to air their dirty laundry in a courtroom.
Image by Gabe Pierce, via Unsplash.com.
The degree of automation in cars is divided into five levels. The first and lowest level is defined as no higher degree of automation than driver assistance software. The fifth and highest level applies to cars that can work fully automatically both on and off-road. The fifth level is irrelevant for our purposes, as it does not yet technically exist. All other levels in between involve a mixture of driver and automated control. If you have been involved in an accident with a self-driving car, it does not necessarily mean that the self-driving skills were the cause of the accident. To determine who to sue in these situations, it is important to get all the facts together and contact a knowledgeable New York City auto accident attorney.
Examples of incidents where culpability could likely be proven in court include situations where the vehicle’s operating system caused the accident by failing to recognize a stop sign, improperly changing lanes, or accelerating beyond the appropriate speed limit without manual prompts.
Compensation for litigation related to self-driving cars
If you have been injured as a result of an accident caused by the negligence of the operator, owner or manufacturer of the self-driving vehicle, you can sue for damages in relation to any or all of the following that may apply to you:
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or impairment
- Medical bills
- Loss of wages
- Vehicle or other property damage
- Mental and emotional effects of the trauma
So far, very little information is known about which monetary judgments are usually rewarded by courts. This is because the manufacturing companies and ridesharing companies were too willing to settle these cases out of court. There are two reasons for this: these companies don’t want negative press, and they want to avoid setting precedents in court that cost them years of money.
Just because you might get a settlement offer doesn’t mean you should try to take over the big companies on your own. It is always important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney in the Bronx when negotiating the terms of a settlement so that you get what you deserve.