It’s typically clear which driver is at-fault for a car accident. However, autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles are relatively new in the automobile industry, making liability less clear.
We’re still years away from fully autonomous cars, but some manufacturers are including self-driving features in the latest models. If your injuries resulted from a self-driving auto accident, reach out to Setareh Law. They can investigate your accident and the circumstances leading up to it.
What Are the Regulations for Self-Driving Vehicles?
Right now, there are no federal driverless car safety, deployment, or liability standards, though many states are beginning to enact regulations regarding autonomous vehicles. California lawmakers amended the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program in 2018, allowing manufacturers to test self-driving cars without a passenger inside.
Since then, agencies have granted some manufacturers to sell their vehicles. As demand goes up and prices decrease, you may start to see more designs in the coming years and more autonomous cars on the roads.
Who Is Liable for an Accident Involving a Self-Driving Car?
California follows pure comparative negligence, meaning accident victims can file a claim against the liable party and receive damages in proportion to how much they were considered at-fault for the accident. With driverless cars, though, it’s not quite as simple.
Filing a Claim against the Other Driver
Whether a vehicle has an autopilot feature or not, drivers who engage in negligent acts behind the wheel, such as texting, speeding, or running lights, may be held liable for accidents they cause. When a driver allows autopilot to take over, they become an operator, which California lawmakers define as the person in the driver’s seat who turns on the self-driving function. In this case, the driver may be liable for an accident.
Filing a Claim against the Manufacturer
Any company that creates, sells, or manufactures defective parts could be held liable for any injuries. California Vehicle Code 38750 requires self-driving cars to have an alert system to let the operator know if autonomous technology is failing. If manufacturers fail to put it in the system or it malfunctions, you might be able to file an accident claim against the company that built the car.
Statistics for Self-Driving Car Accidents
The most common cause of self-driving car accidents is a rear-end collision. Another common cause is sideswipe accidents, for which the other driver is typically responsible. This might prove that autonomous vehicles are safer than we think, since rear drivers are usually liable for these accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 94% of accidents result from driver error, and self-driving vehicles might be the solution.
Some widely reported crashes include:
- A 2016 Tesla ran into an 18-wheeler
- A 2018 Tesla crashed into a disabled vehicle on the highway while going 80 mph
- A 2017 Chevrolet Bolt hit a motorcyclist
What Compensation Can I Receive from a Car Accident?
All car accidents are different, and the financial compensation you receive will vary based on the circumstances surrounding your case. After thoroughly investigating the incident, your California car accident attorney may be able to secure compensation for the following losses:
- Medical bills
- Physical therapy
- In-home rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
When pursuing a claim, you should never put your faith in an insurance company. Remember, they are still a business, and their goal is to maximize profit. Unfortunately, this means using tactics to reduce or deny your claim. Your best bet is to partner with an attorney.
Seek Out Legal Guidance from Setareh Law
Being in a car accident is overwhelming. Being in an accident where a self-driving vehicle was the cause is a new and confusing possibility. Ultimately, if you were not responsible for the crash, you should not have to cover any accident-related expenses. When you need help filing a claim against a negligent driver or manufacturer, turn to the car accident attorneys at Setareh Law.
Our attorneys have years of experience and know how to create a winning defense. Don’t delay, though. You only have two years from the accident date to file a personal injury claim in California. The sooner you contact us, the more help we can be. Call (310) 659-1826 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.