The use of self-driving vehicles is gaining traction on the roads. The automotive technology in autonomous vehicles is still evolving as the manufacturers try to eliminate the practical challenges and enhance performance. However, the technology raises legal issues on who is responsible in case of harm or an accident. It can be a challenge to determine who is liable or even the level of responsibility if a self-driving vehicle causes an accident.
Responsibility in Case of An Autonomous Vehicle Accident
The responsibility in case of a car accident depends on many factors. Such factors may include the cause of the accident or the level of autonomy of the self-driving car. There are six levels of automation in self-driving vehicles, making the issue even more complex.
However, it’s never easy to determine who is responsible in such a case. Therefore, if you are a victim, it’s essential to engage a Self driving car accident lawyer for legal representation.
1. A Self-Driving Vehicle Under Driver’s Control
If a self-driving vehicle is under the control of a driver and the autonomous mode is not activated, if an accident occurs, the assumption is that the driver must have been negligent and may be held liable. The driver may be held responsible for any injuries or damages that result from the accident. However, the cause of the accident could have been beyond the driver’s control, and as such, it may not be easy to conclude who is liable.
2. Accident Due to A Defect Not Related to Autonomous Technology
Suppose an autonomous car causes an accident due to a defective car part unrelated to the vehicle’s autonomy features. The vehicle manufacturer may be held liable for a faulty design, inaccurate testing, or poor manufacturing standards of the defective part.
A victim may seek redress by filing a lawsuit against the company seeking compensation for damages in such a case. For example, suppose a manufacturer uses wheels that are not able to hold ground during wet conditions. In that case, the manufacturer can be held liable for negligence in case of an accident.
3. Accident Due to Failure of Autonomous Software or Hardware
When a fully automated vehicle causes an accident due to the failure of autonomous software or hardware, then the manufacturer of that technology will be held liable, and, maybe, the vehicle manufacturer as well.
4. Multiple Companies Responsible for A Single Component
Autonomous vehicles use complex systems and complex parts as well. As a result, some parts of autonomous vehicles may undergo manufacturing processes in different companies. It may be challenging to hold just one of the companies responsible in case of a default or accident. Therefore, a string of companies may be held liable for a single component failure. In such scenarios, complex legal battles could quickly ensue.
5. Accidents Under Unclear Circumstances
When self-driving vehicles cause accidents, it may not always be clear what caused the accident due to the complex nature of autonomous cars. Hence, such a scenario may make some parties feel as been unfairly held responsible. Such a situation may require the services of a lawyer to represent you in a court of law.
It’s always a complex issue to determine who is responsible in case of an accident involving self-driving vehicles. Therefore, it’s essential to engage the services of an excellent self-driving car accident lawyer to represent you in a court of law if you are a victim of such an accident. It’s not easy for the victims, such as pedestrians, to understand the mechanisms or even the technology of an autonomous vehicle, hence the need for proper representation.