Self-driving vehicles are touted as the hope of the future, but they have already been responsible for several serious accidents during development. Texas has become one of the most popular states for autonomous car developers to test their vehicles. Autonomous or "self-driving" cars are equipped with multiple sensors and other technological systems designed to allow the vehicle to navigate traffic without a driver. However, these cars still require a human driver to be present behind the wheel to take control when necessary.
If you were injured in a self-driving car accident that was not your fault, you may be able to recover compensation in a personal injury or auto product liability claim. These cases are complex, and require an in-depth investigation by a skilled Dallas self-driving car accident attorney. Our team at The Lenahan Law Firm can sit down with you in a free consultation, listen to how the accident affected your life, and go to work getting you compensation. If a negligent driver or manufacturer caused your injuries, we will hold them accountable. Call us today at (214) 295-1008 to discuss your case.
Some vehicles are already equipped with systems that allow for vehicle operation without human control by activating the autopilot. Semi-autonomous systems are available from several manufacturers, including Tesla, Cadillac, Audi, and other high-end brands. The autopilot feature can be a benefit for drivers, as the many sensors can keep a vehicle safely within a lane of traffic without human intervention.
However, these vehicles are not 100% automated yet, with the most advanced models only reaching Level 2 automation. At this stage, these vehicles still require drivers to have their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road to respond to dangers. But many drivers use these vehicles carelessly, resulting in severe trauma to their passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers. In addition, when this technology fails, more innocent people suffer serious or fatal injuries.
Even with a human driver present, self-driving vehicles present many dangers to other people on the road, due to:
- Negligent operators: As mentioned earlier, self-driving cars still require a human intervention to avoid most accidents. It is the job of the driver to keep focused and prevent collisions. If a driver falls asleep at the wheel, becomes distracted, or ignores safety warnings, then he can be found liable for causing a collision.
- Weather conditions: Certain weather, such as rain, fog, or snow, can impair the view of the cameras and sensors in a self-driving vehicle. While these vehicles are tested under a variety of conditions, all it takes is one dangerous storm and faulty system to cause a collision.
- Faulty technology: Any system on the vehicle could fail to perform as predicted, and the human driver may not be paying enough attention to avoid a crash.
Self-driving car accidents have brought a set of new legal challenges to light. It has been established that the human drivers behind the wheel of these cars are often less attentive to the road ahead. Before filing a claim after an accident, your first step is to fully understand the facts in the case. Was another driver operating a vehicle negligently? Was the test driver texting or engaging in other negligent behavior? Did poor road or street conditions contribute to the accident?
Various parties may, in the end, be found liable, including:
- The self-driving vehicle’s manufacturer
- The self-driving vehicle’s operator
- The trucking firm (for a self-driving commercial truck)
- Another driver who caused the accident
- The government agency that is responsible for poor road design
While various disputes over self-driving cars unfold in our courts, one legal concept holds true: the manufacturer of a consumer product has a duty to ensure the product is safe for intended use. Injuries caused by faulty or defective products, or "product liability" cases, are sadly quite common in the U.S. When a manufacturer fails to warn consumers of the risks of using a product, makes false claims, or produces a faulty or dangerous product, injured consumer can file a claim against the manufacturer; in fact, they may also be able to file a claim against the retailer that sold it. In the event that a self-driving vehicle caused your accident, you first want to ensure you have a Dallas self-driving car accident attorney with experience and a reputation for success in the most challenging product liability cases.
The Lenahan Law Firm is widely regarded as the premier injury law firm in the Dallas area. Our legal team takes on cases involving serious or fatal injuries, including self-driving car accidents. As these lawsuits move through the civil court system, precedents for future cases are set and will hopefully lead to greater protections for individuals. We take on cases of serious injury on a contingency-fee basis – no legal fees for you until we achieve success in court or by negotiating a fair settlement with the at-fault party. For a free consultation with a Dallas car accident attorney, call us at (214) 295-1008.