Self Driving Car Accident: Can I Sue?

Self Driving Car Accident: Can I Sue?

self driving car accident

Automobile makers are racing to grab the largest share of the self driving car market, which means an increasing number of these vehicles are on the road. This new technology is exciting, but because self driving cars are still being fine-tuned, these cars have an increased risk of causing accidents. 

The dangers of driverless cars vary widely based on their quality, design, and functionality. In vehicles with more automation and less human driver control, there’s an increased chance things will go wrong. 

What Is a Self-Driven Car?

A self-driven, or autonomous, car is a general term for vehicles with significant automation that may or may not require a driver to operate. 

The Society of Automotive Engineers has created these six categories to describe the automation level of vehicles:

  • Level 0: No automation. The driver does everything, and no adjustments like automated steering, navigation, or speed adjustment are made by the vehicle.
  • Level 1: The car provides minimal assistance, such as power brakes or steering.
  • Level 2: Partial automation, like cruise control, can be turned on, but the driver maintains control over all of the vehicle’s systems.
  • Level 3: The car can operate without the driver’s control, but a driver must be present, pay attention, and be ready to take control at any moment.
  • Level 4: The car operates without intervention by the driver under certain, predetermined conditions. The driver can take control at any point.
  • Level 5: Fully automated vehicles that can operate without a driver. 

What Causes Self-Driven Car Crashes?

In addition to typical accident collisions, self driving car crashes may be caused by vehicle defects, automatic piloting software, or other aspects of the system that can malfunction. The dangers of driverless cars significantly increase with driver inattentiveness, inexperience, and not proactively adapting to road conditions. If the driver did not intervene when something went wrong, they weren’t paying attention, or the self driving mechanism was operating incorrectly, your accident could be a case of negligence. 

If you or a loved one were hurt in an autonomous vehicle accident or a family member was killed because of a self driving car, it’s essential to talk to an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of these types of accidents. 

Self Driving Car Accident Responses Are Still Developing

Insurance companies and the legal system are scrambling to understand the implications, liabilities, and unique situations of autonomous vehicle accidents. A little over a decade ago, self driving cars were unavailable to the general public, so regulations, insurance policies, and legal precedents were nonexistent. 

As of January 2023, legislation regarding autonomous vehicles has been enacted in 34 states. It is important to note that not all state laws specifically address requirements concerning the presence of a vehicle operator in non-fully autonomous cars, the necessity of operator licensing, and the requirements for liability insurance coverage for such vehicles.

Possible responsible parties for autonomous car crashes include: 

The Driver: Even if the self-driving car does most of the work, drivers are present to take control if anything unexpected happens. They might be personally liable if they don’t act quickly to stop an accident within their power. 

The Vehicle Manufacturer: If the vehicle had a failure in equipment or faulty manufacturing processes that caused the accident, the liability lands on the automaker or the manufacturer of the malfunctioning car part responsible for the crash.

The Software and TechDesigners: Autonomous car accidents may happen because software and sensors do not respond to driving conditions like an experienced human driver. 

An experienced self driving car accident lawyer is your greatest ally when seeking compensation for the short and long-term impact of these accidents. They will investigate your accident case, determine the cause of the crash, and who is at fault. 

I Was Injured in an Autonomous Car Crash. Can I Sue?

In many cases, yes, but it will depend on who is at fault for the accident, the injuries and property damage sustained, and how well the circumstances are documented. Experienced autonomous vehicle accident attorneys understand the nuances of self driving car crash cases and are skilled at managing cases with multiple responsible parties. 

Suppose the self driving car manufacturer, software designer, or driver was at fault. In that case, your attorney will file a claim(s) against the proper party (or parties), help you gather the needed evidence, and ensure you are fairly compensated. 

Contact a Maryland Self Driving Car Accident Attorney

If you or a family member were involved in an accident caused by a self driving car, the Zirkin & Schmerling legal team is ready to fight on your behalf to ensure you recover fair compensation.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and your losses, you may be able to recover compensation for vehicle damages, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and more.

You can start your case today by calling 410-753-4611 or scheduling a free case consultation here.