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Understanding The Liability Determinations In Self-Driving Car Accidents

With self-driving cars becoming more widely discussed and more frequently tested, there's been a lot of news coverage about the new technology and the operation of the vehicles. Understandably, there are safety concerns and questions associated with testing vehicles that essentially control themselves. Since these cars have no official driver, how do you know who would be at fault for an accident caused by a self-driving vehicle? Here's a look at what you should know.

Driver Liability

Even if they are allowing the car to pilot itself, the driver, or operator, of a self-driving car can still be held liable in the event of any kind of accident. Self-driving vehicles don't give the operator the freedom to ignore the road or the traffic around them.

If the accident is caused by an obstruction or problem that the operator should have seen and reacted to, he or she could be at fault and held liable for any injuries you suffered. However, you will have to be able to prove that the operator should have seen and reacted to whatever caused the accident.

For cars that were running without an operator in them, as they are legally able to do, then the owner can only be held liable if the accident occurred due to an error on their part when implementing the operating program and the vehicle's control system.

Manufacturer Liability

Some accidents with self-driving cars are the result of faulty parts or poor manufacturing design. In those cases, the manufacturer would be the one held liable for your injuries. In order to hold the manufacturer liable, though, you'll have to be able to prove that the accident was caused by something that they were directly negligent with.

For example, if there was a part selected for the car that is later shown to be insufficient for the physical demand of the vehicle, that could be the manufacturer's fault. You'll have to show that they knew in advance that the part was insufficient but chose to use it anyway. This often means having your attorney subpoena manufacturing records as well as the scene reconstruction information.

Programmer Liability

Self-driving cars require a complex program to operate the way that they are supposed to. This program is written by an expert programmer. If the accident that caused your injuries was due to a flaw in the program, something that should have been seen by the programmer along the way, you may be able to hold the programmer liable for the accident.

You'll likely need a forensic specialist to determine the cause of the accident, which means hiring someone who is a code specialist. He or she can work through the car's program to determine the source of the problem.

Contact a car accident attorney near you to help you navigate the murky legal waters of self-driving cars and accident injuries.

About Me

Choosing The Perfect Counsel

If you have ever been accused of a crime, then you know the absolute sinking feeling in your gut. It can be incredibly devastating to cope with the thought of living the rest of your life behind bars, which is why choosing the perfect counsel is crucial. I started thinking about who to work with a few years ago when I was accused of something that I knew I didn't do, and it was scary. However, I knew that by focusing on my innocence and finding the right professional, things would be manageable. Check out this blog for great information on choosing counsel.

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