In recent years, self-driving cars have become more and more popular. However, since these cars drive and operate differently from normal cars, many wonder who is considered at fault when these cars get into an accident.
Since these cars are not relatively new, there is still a lot to be discussed by insurance providers and lawyers on who is at fault when the car gets into an accident. Sometimes the court has even decided that the manufacturer of the car or the person who developed the software is the one who is to blame. If you have ever been injured in a self-driving car accident contact a Denver personal injury law firm for any questions.
However, with so much uncertainty, this is why it’s important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible if you are in a self-driving car and it gets into an accident.
Self-Driving Cars and the Driver
One thing to remember is that self-driving cars can usually be put into self-driving mode, but there is still someone sitting in the driving seat. While the car is self-driving, there is still technically a driver.
The car does a lot of the work itself, but there is still required someone to be in the driver’s seat that should take control of the car when needed.
There are many different kinds of automation when it comes to driving. Most people just have cars with automated driving features, including a backup camera, emergency braking systems, and cruise control.
However, fully automated cars have even more features where the driver can actually just sit in the driver’s seat, but they do not have to control the steering wheel or the brake and gas pedals.
There are many different levels of automation features, including:
- Level 0: These cars do not have any kind of automation, and the driver fully operates the car.
- Level 1: There are some automation features, but they are simple things like power brakes.
- Level 2: The driver has full control of the car but features like cruise control are available if the driver feels like they want to use them.
- Level 3: These cars can partially operate without the control of the driver, but the driver still has to watch the road the whole time as the car doesn’t have sensors or other things needed to avoid accidents.
- Level 4: The car can operate without the driver intervening, but the driver can still fully control and drive the car when they want.
- Level 5: These are fully automated self-driving cars, and the driver does not even have to press the gas pedals or use the steering wheel unless they want to.
Legislation and Self-Driving Cars
Many people are unsure about driving self-driving cars, which is why they have not increased in popularity, as many people are scared of operating them. There are also not enough statistics to fully determine if these cars are really safe or not.
There are only 29 states out of the 50 that put laws and regulations around self-driving cars. There are also only about 5 states that have fully approved the use of these cars.
Even if the states that approve the cars do not have laws stating who is at fault when there is an accident which means this usually has to be decided by the court.
Self-Driving Cars and Responsibility
If you have been in an accident involving a self-driving car, you might be wondering if you can sue the other person. You might also be curious to know who will be paying the damages or who will be in charge of paying for the person who was hurt, if there are any.
There are many different people that can be blamed when these accidents happen. Let’s take a look at what has happened in self-driving car accidents in the past.
The Person in the Driver’s Seat
As said before, all self-driving cars have a person that sits behind the wheel. However, in court, they are often called the operator rather than the driver since they were not actually driving.
They are supposed to regain control of the car and prevent accidents where possible. They will be blamed for the accident if they are not alert or not paying attention to the road when the accident happened.
The Manufacturer of the Vehicle
Sometimes things can go wrong with the car itself. If the accident happened because the brakes failed or because there were mechanical issues with the car, then the vehicle’s manufacturer will be the one blamed for the accident.
In these cars, the people injured in the accident will seek compensation from the manufacturer of the car or from the people that made the car part that stopped working.
Designer of the Technology
Self-driving cars have many different technologies that regular cars do not have. This includes many different kinds of sensors and software needed to be able to control the car even in situations when something is going wrong.
If the software glitches or malfunctions and causes an accident, the software developers could be the ones in charge of covering damages in the accident.
Most of the time, the software in self-driving cars is not perfect, and they cannot detect every situation like a person who is driving a car can. Humans can simply use their own judgment and quick reflexes, but cars have to be programmed with software for every possible scenario.
Although self-driving cars have come a long way, people can usually react and make split-second decisions much easier ad quicker.
There are many different possible scenarios for who is to blame when a self-driving car gets into an accident. The court will usually decide once they take a look at all the facts and the car that was driving.
If you have been in an accident with a self-driving car, make sure you contact a lawyer right away so they can help you with your case.
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