Cars that drive themselves, also known as self-driving vehicles, have been developed by Tesla and other companies and are supposed to be safer than normal cars.
As this relatively new technology becomes more common, we will likely see an increase in the number of self-driving vehicles on the road.
Automated cars could benefit disabled or elderly people with mobility issues and be better for the environment. But whether or not they are safer because of the lack of human error is still a question.
Regardless, with the increase of such cars on the road comes an increased risk of a Tesla self-driving car accident.
If you were in an accident with a self-driving car, you might be wondering, Who is at fault in a self-driving car accident?
Automation in a Nutshell
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are multiple levels of automation:
- Level 0—The human driver does all the driving;
- Level 1—An advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) sometimes helps with either steering, braking, and accelerating;
- Level 2—The ADAS can control steering, braking, and accelerating at the same time while the human monitors the environment;
- Level 3—An automated driving system (ADS) can perform all aspects of driving, but the human must be ready to take back control when needed;
- Level 4—The ADS can perform all driving tasks and monitor the environment, thereby eliminating the need for the human to pay attention; and
- Level 5—The human occupants are just passengers and not involved at all.
Currently, there are no vehicles available for sale that are fully self-driving. Drivers must still share the responsibility—and any resultant liability—for a self-driving car accident.
Who Is Liable in a Self-Driving Car Accident?
The question of who is to blame for a self-driving car accident may not be cut-and-dry. All drivers must use reasonable care when operating cars on the road.
As the victim of a self-driving car accident, you may have to sue both the car manufacturer and the driver.
In a 2020 study from AAA, researchers found that the driver assist systems in self-driving vehicles can actually interfere with safe driving operations.
These systems apparently disengage and hand control back to the human driver with little notice, which can be deadly if the driver is not actively paying attention to the road.
The study also noted that these vehicles experience an issue every eight miles, on average. If the car malfunctions while driving, you might have a claim for damages in a product liability suit against the dealer and manufacturer.
However, it is still essential for the human driver to remain engaged in the driving task.
Under California law, the driver must be able to take full control of the car if needed. If the driver is using autopilot mode when the accident happens, they may be liable in a personal injury lawsuit.
Wells Call Injury Lawyers Are California Personal Injury Attorneys Ready to Help
If you were in a self-driving car accident, it is essential to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.
Your attorney will investigate the facts of your case, determine which parties are liable, and put together an estimate of your damages.
They will protect your rights while negotiating a fair settlement with the defendants’ insurance companies, or they will take your case to trial if necessary.