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Self-Driving Cars Injury Liability

Chester County Car Accident Lawyers Seek Compensation for Personal Injury VictimsAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately five million people are fatally injured in car accidents every year. Tens of thousands of people lose their lives in these collisions, and millions more are injured. Most of these accidents, the NHTSA says, are the result of human error. Many believe that autonomous (or self-driving) cars will make our roads safer. As autonomous cars become more prevalent, insurance companies and regulators have a lot of important questions to answer.

Semi-autonomous cars (cars that beep when things appear in blind spots and automatically apply brakes when the front gets to close to an object) are already on the roads. The most well-known prototypes are made by Tesla, Infiniti, and Subaru. CEO of Telsa, Elon Musk, recently announced that all Tesla models will now come with built-in self-driving hardware.

There were several fatal Tesla crashes this year that have sparked concern. In one case, the vehicle’s automatic braking system was not triggered because it did not detect a tractor-trailer that came from two lanes away and turned in front of it. In another accident in the Netherlands, Tesla has come forward to say that its Autopilot feature was not on at the time.

So when an autonomous car is involved in a car accident, who takes responsibility? Insurers and car companies are not entirely certain how this question will be answered. Although the auto insurance industry in the United States has a long track record of handling claims, they only have a very small sample of claims generated by self-driving cars, and as such, are not able to quantify their risk.

The Tesla Approach to Liability

Tesla spokespeople have stated that the company will not be liable if a crash occurs while a car is in self-driving mode, unless it is an issue endemic to Tesla’s design. Rather, Tesla says that individual insurance companies will bear the burden of liability. Tesla analogizes self-driving cars to elevators, in the sense that when an elevator malfunctions, the elevator company is not held liable, but rather the person in charge of maintenance or the property owner.

The Volvo Approach to Liability

Volvo, on the other hand, has said that it will assume full liability for its cars while they are in autonomous mode.

The Good News

According to insurance firm Aon, car insurance premiums are expected to decline by as much as 40 percent by the year 2050, when self-driving cars are expected to be the norm on our roads, not the exception. This assumes, however, that there will be a decline in car accident rates for autonomous cars compared to traditional driver-operated vehicles.

Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Seek Compensation for Personal Injury Victims

Chester County car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC have extensive experience handling all type of motor vehicle accident cases. We strive to stay on the cutting edge. As the law adapts to meet technological advances in the auto industry, we continue to work around the clock to fight for our clients. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, call us at 215-569-8488 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.