Self-driving cars are back in the news again. Uber is reportedly in negotiations with a competitor, Aurora, in which Uber would sell its Advanced Technologies Group (which includes Uber’s self-driving vehicle unit) to Aurora. Also, Tesla is expanding what it calls “full self-driving beta.” Driverless Waymo vans are going public in Arizona. While this may all seem very exciting, there remains the issue of safety and the accidents caused by self-driving vehicles. When that happens, and someone’s hurt, who’s liable? For answers to this and other important questions, be sure you are getting the information you need from a knowledgeable Chicago car accident attorney.
In some circumstances, the law may dictate that the person in the car is the person who is liable for the injuries you suffered, even if the vehicle was equipped with self-driving technology. If, for example, the technology inside the vehicle was merely a “driver assist” program and the accident occurred because the human was paying no attention to the road, then that person is going to be the one who bears most or all of the legal liability.
There are, however, several situations in which an accident caused by a technology-equipped vehicle may offer more legal opportunities to you beyond just suing the person behind the wheel. For example, the self-driving Waymo vans in the East Valley area of Phoenix will be completely driverless. There will no human behind the wheel whose job it is to assist the vehicle. In a scenario where a Waymo van causes a crash, then there could obviously be an opportunity for legal action against Waymo and/or Alphabet, Inc., of which Waymo is a division. (Alphabet’s divisions also include Google.) Back in October, Venture Beat reported that driverless Waymo cars were involved in 18 accidents in 20 months.
Additionally, there are circumstances in which the technology simply glitches. If, for example, a vehicle’s LIDAR (laser-based radar) malfunctions and that vehicle rear-ends yours, then you may have a powerful case against the vehicle and the LIDAR manufacturers for negligence in the development and/or implementation of their products.
If a fully autonomous vehicle fails to perform as well as a human driver would have, then you may have a case against the vehicle manufacturer. Say that you have proof that you were injured by a self-driving vehicle that failed to yield the right of way in a situation where a competent human driver clearly would have recognized the obligation to yield. In that situation, that evidence may lead to a successful outcome.
Establishing these connections between hardware and/or software failures and the causation of the accident that hurt you is often essential, especially as companies like Lyft, Waymo and others are pursuing self-driving vehicles more and more. Being able to bring a strong case against the company, as opposed to just the driver, may greatly enhance your ability to get a full and fair recovery.
When your injuries necessitate taking action in court, you need a seasoned, powerful and determined advocate. Rely on the knowledgeable Chicago car accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to provide that kind of effective representation to you. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.