Self-driving cars are already being tested on the open roads by companies like Uber, so it is just a matter of time before we see their introduction and use in the common market. The average automobile already contains enormous amounts of software and wiring for the numerous safety and driving systems onboard. Many cars have standard features like electronic stability control, rear view cameras, blue tooth capability, and much more, so product liability laws are in place for these features. Currently, when a car accident happens there is almost always some degree of driver error involved. In the future if there is no one driving the car, then liability must go to the car manufacturer or the suppliers of the car components. It is possible that we will see more mass litigation against manufacturers and suppliers as liability shifts away from drivers towards their self-driving cars.
Active and Passive Product Liability
Auto product liability law involves both the active side – a defect that results in a crash, and the passive side – the failure to prevent a collision. Auto defects in today’s cars range from the complex systems of hardware and software which can fail, have programming errors, or be hacked for data, to airbag systems which can fail to fire when needed, or fire without cause. Electronics can be a problem as well, and many drivers may not even be aware until it is too late.
Foreseeing this shift in liability, some carmakers are pushing for a cap on damages sought from wrecks involving self-driving cars or even immunity from suit. In 2013 the state of Michigan created immunity for carmakers if self-driving features are added on by a third party. Auto manufacturers are arguing that statistics show overall there will be fewer fatalities from car accidents when driver error is eliminated and therefore what they are doing is a benefit to society.
Delaware Product Liability Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Victims of Auto Defects
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident and you believe an auto defect was to blame, the Delaware product liability lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help you determine if negligence was involved and can secure you the compensation you deserve. Call 302-888-1221 to schedule an appointment or contact us online to speak with us.