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Determining liability in self-driving car accidents

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2017 | Car Accidents

There are a number of companies that have created prototypes of computer-driven vehicles to be used on the roads of West Virginia and around the country. Additionally, several automobiles already in production have limited self-driving capabilities, such as the ability to automatically parallel park. The reason for the interest in these automobiles is that there are a number of safety benefits associated with these types of vehicles, since computers don’t get tired or distracted.

Along with the fact that automobiles will be piloted by computers and not people, another major difference in these vehicles is the way that accident liability will need to be determined. Currently, liability is generally determined based on the actions of the drivers involved in a crash. For instance, if someone ran a red light, they would probably be considered liable.

With computer-driven cars, it’s not as simple as attributing liability to a single person. It appears that automotive manufacturers are probably going to be held liable for crashes caused by these vehicles. Alternatively, companies involved in the development of the software that runs these vehicles or manufacturers that create the sensors these vehicles rely on could be held liable if a failure was associated with either product.

While things are likely to change in the future, currently, when someone is in a car crash, liability is usually attributed to motorists. If someone is in an accident, they will probably obtain compensation for costs related to the accident from an insurance provider. When another individual is at fault, people usually go through the insurance provider of the person who caused the accident. Since insurance providers often attempt to offer the lowest amount of compensation possible, individuals could find it helpful to obtain assistance from an attorney who could help them determine an appropriate amount of compensation for their expenses.