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With Self-Driving Car Technology, Who Pays for Accidents?

By The Husband and Wife Law Team on August 2, 2017

Arizona Auto AccidentThe future is here: self-driving cars are out on the streets and growing in number. Perhaps you’ve already seen news stories about accidents involving self-driving cars. Perhaps you’ve been wondering how to determine who is responsible and who pays the bills when property is damaged and people are injured. It’s an interesting subject that all drivers should be aware of.

Where Are Self-Driving Cars in Arizona?

If you haven’t seen a self-driving car yet, you will soon. They are out in nearly every major city in Arizona and across the nation. You’ve probably read about the Uber self-driving car accident in Tempe, on McClintock Drive and the intersection of Don Carlos Drive. It was the other driver who was at fault in this accident, failing to yield while turning left and subsequently smashing into the self-driving Uber vehicle.

Who Pays for a Self-Driving Car Accident?

Self-driving cars are equipped with advanced video systems that record every move the car makes (and that of every vehicle around it). While the cars are programmed to avoid accidents, the programs can’t yet account for every possible scenario. And programs can fail, which means that accidents will still happen. When they do, the computers in the car are analyzed to determine who was at fault: the self-driving car or the other vehicles. Police also take witness statements and any other facts of the case into account. If the self-driving car was at fault, it then has to be determined what part of the car caused the accident. Liability claims will have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

For example, if a product inside the car malfunctions, then the product manufacturer could face a negligence claim. In addition, the manufacturer or design company might face responsibility in a claim because of a flaw or failure to warn the customer of the risks. If there is a security breach within the automated car, that manufacturer could also be liable. Finally, insurance companies will have to expand their offerings and determine how their coverage applies during accidents.

Self-driving car accident settlements work just like any other type of accident settlement; the party at fault (or the insurance company behind it) will pay for the victim’s medical bills and repair costs. Other bills covered include lost wages, funeral costs, and rehabilitation costs. The only difference in these cases is the investigation that must take place to determine who is at fault. It is important to have a knowledgeable team on your side if you are hurt in an accident. The Husband and Wife Law Team offers free initial consultations to determine if you have a case.

Can I Avoid Accidents with Self-Driving Cars?

With self-driving cars, you don’t have to worry about a drunk or distracted driver behind the wheel, but you might have to worry about the system failing to recognize and negotiate a more advanced traffic situation. You don’t have to worry about the driver falling asleep at the wheel, but you might have to worry about a system failure inside the car that causes it to incorrectly maneuver and collide with you.

To stay safe on the road, you should obey all traffic signals and use defensive driving habits such as double-checking mirrors before merging and looking both ways again before turning, but you can’t force everyone else to follow the same safe practices. And you certainly can’t ensure that a computer is driving safely. That’s up to the company that designed the car.

If you are injured by a self-driving car in Arizona, contact us so we can help you with your case.

Posted in: Rideshare Accidents

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