In November of 2017, Waymo announced that there would be cars on the road without any drivers. This is a first in the United States. Before this, all self-driving cars had a safety driver just in case something went wrong. This is a big leap when it comes to the future of transportation.
There are very many implications of this occasion. You may wonder what will happen to all of the people who drive taxis or trucks, or whether or not these cars will have something go wrong. For example, one of these cars may crash like when your computer crashes.
As personal injury attorneys, we want to help you understand this new and evolving field of law. Keep reading for more information on this exciting subject.
Who is at Fault?
Before we begin, it is important to understand that self-driving cars have already been the cause of a crash. It is going to take some time before companies perfect the technology, if they perfect it at all.
Determining exactly who is at fault depends on the circumstances of the crash. When a self-driving car crashes, the law needs to determine where the problem was. It could be the responsibility of the manufacturer, the company who designed the technology, or another driver. When a human driver caused the crash, determining fault is quite simple. They will probably have to pay.
If the self-driving car was responsible for the crash, finding out who to sue is a bit more complicated. You must determine where the breakdown occurred. That, in turn, shows you who you can sue.
In the state of Florida, most lawsuits are and will be directed towards the person who ‘operates’ the vehicle. This means that the person who owns the self-driving car may be liable in an accident. Florida lets its citizens own self-driving cars if they have a valid driver’s license, but it also makes them responsible for what their car does.
Florida law HB 7027 limits how much responsibility the car manufacturers and software designers hold when it comes to self-driving car crashes. This means that if you are hit by a truck that is working for the Rita’s Moving Company, you will sue Rita’s Moving Company and their insurance. There might not even be a driver in the car, but that still might be who you sue.
If there are serious defects in the design of the car, then you may be able to sue a company like Ford or Toyota. What exactly those faults are is still subject to speculation. Case law has not been developed yet, and we will need to see what happens. This may also fall under product liability, as opposed to personal injury.
Something that we should keep in mind is that some companies, such as Volvo, have already said that they will be liable should one of their cars crash. One of the reasons that they are doing this is because self-driving cars are likely to be safer than human drivers.
If you have any questions for personal injury attorneys, we can help. The Berman Law Group has a team of laudable, likable, and local lawyers who can help you out today. Call us now at 1-800-375-5555.