The Risks of Self-Driving Ubers and Other Autonomous Vehicles

The convenience of modern technology is often wonderful. We can use technology to do everything from adjusting our thermostats to turning on the porch lights to maintaining our grocery lists. One area that may offer great benefits, but also currently carries significant risk, is self-driving vehicles. As major ride-hailing services like Uber explore the possibility of using self-driving vehicles, it is important to be aware of the risks driver-assisted or self-driving vehicles can pose. If you’ve been hurt by a self-driving vehicle, whether you were in that vehicle or an outside one, it is possible that you may have legal claims against various entities based on that crash. You should contact a skilled Chicago injury attorney to discuss your situation and your options.

Uber is recognized as one of the leaders in autonomous vehicles, alongside Tesla and Google’s Waymo. Each of the entities have had to deal with injury-causing accidents. Last year, a pedestrian in Arizona died after a self-driving Uber vehicle did not try to evade her, but instead plowed into her at 40 mph, according to a Business Insider report.

Recently, the news stories have involved Tesla. Back in March, CNBC reported that a Tesla vehicle was involved in a fatal crash in South Florida. The Tesla Model 3 was traveling at 68 mph when it slammed into a big rig’s trailer. The Tesla’s occupant died in the crash. The vehicle’s autopilot was on at the time the crash took place, and reports said the driver had taken his hands from the wheel for eight seconds. The accident report indicated that neither the autopilot system nor the driver “executed evasive maneuvers,” according to the report.

Recently, a fatal self-driving vehicle accident triggered legal action in California. The accident involved a Tesla Model X who owner had engaged the driver assistance system. That system allegedly misinterpreted the road markings on a Northern California highway and, as a result, steered the vehicle into a concrete highway divider, with the occupant dying in the crash.

In a case like this, whether you’re in California or Illinois, your lawsuit might look very similar in both places in some ways. There are some bases for suing that are created by statutory law, and they can vary substantially from state-to-state. There are other claims that are what’s called “common law” wrongs, and they exist in every state. Negligence is one of these common law violations, and it’s a basis for seeking compensation for injuries, whether you’re in California, Arizona or Illinois.

Many possible ways to be negligent

There are many ways that a defendant can potentially be legally negligent and, as a result, owe you compensation for harm you suffered. For example, in the recent California complaint, reports indicated that the deceased’s family alleged that Tesla was negligent in its “design, manufacture, testing, marketing, sale, and maintenance” of the 2017 Model X vehicle and its self-driving technology. Any of these things – whether it’s design, manufacturing, testing, marketing, sale or maintenance – can be a place where negligence occurred, and you’re entitled to a damages award because of it. Even if a manufacturer tested, marketed, sold and maintained its vehicles in a way that met the appropriate standard of carefulness, a design defect alone could be enough to result in a verdict for you, the plaintiff.

Self-driving cars may truly be the wave of the future. The state of Florida, for example, just passed a law legalizing self-driving Uber vehicles statewide. As they currently exist, these vehicles are not without their flaws. If you should find yourself injured by a self-driving Uber in Illinois, you may have many legal options, so you need to know where to turn for answers upon which you can rely. The skilled Chicago auto accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca are here to help, giving you the advice and the advocacy that you deserve. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.