Who is responsible for an accident involving a self-driving car?

self-driving car

In today’s society, more and more car companies are utilizing advanced technology and software to equip vehicles with self-driving capabilities. Self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles, can operate on the road without human interaction. Essentially, a motorist is not needed to control the vehicle. Rather, software such as sensors, cameras, and radars detect the vehicle’s environment to operate. As we see more autonomous vehicles being developed and integrated onto the roads, many people wonder who may be responsible for an accident involving an autonomous vehicle. Keep reading to learn who may be liable for an accident involving a self-driving car and how a seasoned Essex County Auto Accident Attorney can help you today. 

Who is liable for an accident involving a self-driving car?

People often are quick to assume that the motorist is automatically responsible for a collision. However, in auto accidents involving autonomous vehicles, several parties may be responsible for the crash. Firstly, motorists may be liable for an accident if they are negligent. Despite self-driving vehicles having automation features, motorists are still expected to remain alert while behind the wheel. This is because they may have to regain control of the vehicle at some point. Essentially, motorists are still required to exercise reasonable care while behind the wheel even if they are not technically in control of the vehicle. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the vehicle manufacturer may be responsible for the accident. If there is a malfunctioning mechanical part such as a faulty break, the manufacturer can be held liable. In this case, the motorist would not be negligent because there was nothing they could have done to prevent the collision. Furthermore, the software designer may be responsible for a collision if the vehicle’s technology is defective. Autonomous vehicles rely on various software systems. If there is an issue with one or more of the systems, it could cause a collision as the vehicle may not be able to detect a hazard or traffic. Liability in this type of accident ultimately depends on the specific circumstances of the collision.

Should I consult an attorney?

After an accident involving an autonomous vehicle, it is imperative to retain the legal services of a skilled Essex County auto accident attorney. In New Jersey, if you are injured due to someone else’s negligence you are legally entitled to file a claim against that party to seek monetary compensation for your damages. In New Jersey, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim against a negligent party. If you fail to file a claim within the right time frame you will be barred from pursuing legal action in the future. You will lose your opportunity to recover compensation for your damages. Not only can a qualified attorney help ensure you file a claim within the right period, but they can help you investigate the circumstances of the accident to establish liability. 

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving a self-driving car, contact one of our determined attorneys. Our firm is committed to helping our clients understand their legal options.